ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Way Forward

The chair summarises background, main features, and addresses some of the issues raised by the articles in this issue. 

As Member, Planning Commission from 2009 to 2014, I was able to play a small part in kickstarting fundamental reforms in water governance in India. When reforms mean something quite different from the usual connotation of privatisation, change takes a lot of time. The attempt to bring the voices of the marginalised into policymaking is fiercely resisted by dominant vested interests, particularly when the status quo has flourished undisturbed for seven decades, as in the case of water governance in India.

The Central Water Commission (CWC) was set up in 1945. Since independence, it has continued to function unreformed, presiding over a paradigm of development based on command and control over the rivers of India. The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), set up in 1971, pioneered the deeper search for groundwater, which has continued over decades, not always recognising that a major part of the land mass of the country stands on a foundation of hard rock formations, leading to a situation where both water tables and water quality have declined to dangerous levels today.

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