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

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New ‘Water Management Paradigm’

Outdated Concepts?

This article critiques theMihir Shah Committee report and the articles about it in this journal (24 December 2016). It says that although the report has intended to be an attempt at restructuring of water institutions, it has, unfortunately ended just as an exercise in restructuring “water organisations,” and its contents get reduced to a mere “preface” rather than a serious analytical attempt towards a practical approach to institutional restructuring in the water sector.

The main aim of this article is to critically look at the Mihir Shah Committee report (Shah 2016a) on restructuring of the Central Water Commission (CWC) and the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB). It also refers to and comments on the set of articles which appea­red in the EPW (24 December 2016). This special issue on “water governance” contained articles that were critiques of the committee report. In the words of the guest editor, the reportarticulates a new vision and institutional framework for water governance in India. The series starts with the article “All Is Not Lost, But Water Sector Reforms Must Go Ahead” by P S Vijayshankar and ends with “The Way Forward” by Mihir Shah.

The authors of these critiques are from different backgrounds. Yet noneof them actually represents the waterbureaucracy, which is a major affected party. While Ghosh and Bandyopadhyay (2016) looked at the report from anecological point of view, Vinod Gaur discussed only about the theoreticalaspects of the use of technology in agricultural water management, with passing references to the committee report. None of the authors has been able to look at the issue of water governanceseriously, barring the exception of Joy (2016).1 Some of the areas which were left untouched in the discussion are hydro­logy, water resources engineering, environmental engineering, sociology, behavioural sciences, economics, and politics.

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Updated On : 8th Dec, 2017
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