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

PunjabSubscribe to Punjab

From Policy to Practice

The Mihir Shah Committee report lays a solid foundation for restructuring water governance in India. Yet, a few supplementary provisions could reinforce the report’s recommendations, nudging the effort towards improved water resources management.

Focus on Sustainable Groundwater Management

The growing crisis in groundwater availability in India means that the time is ripe for a paradigm shift in the way we think about it. This article reviews recent developments that have opened up exciting opportunities for change, and makes suggestions to address some of the shortcomings of the past.

Water Governance Reform

The Mihir Shah Committee report demands a paradigm shift, bringing the ecosystems perspective to the ways water is governed in India. This article argues that these governance reforms, though essential, are not enough to enable the paradigm shift necessary for sustainability and ecological justice. But it may be a great place to begin.

Comment on the Proposed National Water Commission

Describing the tasks proposed for the National Water Commission as visionary, varied, and vast, this article underlines that ensuring high performance, accountability, speedy implementation, and cost effectiveness to India’s water management is a massive challenge. Highlighting three major problem areas, it suggests possible ways forward.

Merits Undeniable despite Drawbacks

While welcoming the overall thrust of the Mihir Shah Committee report and its suggestion for a National Water Commission of technical experts to assist the states, this article underscores that it does have some blind spots. These would include its non-inclusion of waterbodies and preference for floodplain zoning, among others.

The Way Forward

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

An Important Step in Reforming Water Governance

While appreciating that restructuring two of the most important water institutions in the country is embedded in the alternative agenda proposed for the water sector in the Mihir Shah Committee report, this article asserts that new ideas and vision need new institutions.

Evolution of Irrigation Sector

Charting the historical evolution of irrigation in India, this article looks into the nature of shifts that have occurred over the years, and the major challenges it faces now. While the Mihir Shah Committee’s recommendation of creating a National Water Commission is welcome, it suggests that the new body operate on the lines of an independent think tank.

Water Crisis in Punjab and Haryana

After the Green Revolution, Punjab and Haryana have become water-scarce states due to the introduction of paddy as the main kharif crop, a massive increase in cropping intensity, and rapid urbanisation and industrialisation. However, the real issue--of reverting to sustainable cropping patterns and improving water-use efficiency--remains unaddressed. An improvement of 15% to 20% in water-use efficiency from the present level can provide each state with the increased water share it is demanding.

Milking 1984 as an Election Issue

Punjab is heading for an assembly poll with two new entities in the fray, the Aam Aadmi Party and theAwaaz-e-Punjab front. While the record of the ruling Shiromani Akali DalBharatiya Janata Party combine is shabby, the Congress still faces the uncomfortable task of answering for Operation Blue Star and issues related to the anti-Sikh violence of 1984. Though AAP looks like it has an advantage because it raised the 1984 issue early, it is open which way the votes will swing and 1984 could yet again be a deciding factor.

Religion and Scheduled Caste Status

The Supreme Court's judgment in the case of Mohammad Sadique carries disturbing implications for Muslim Dhobis, Dooms, Julahas, Mochis, etc, who face social disabilities similar to Hindu Dhobis, Dooms, Julahas, Mochis, etc, but are denied the same legal status. It seems to convey that the former could get the Scheduled Caste status provided they agree to convert to Hinduism, Sikhism or Buddhism. This judgment is in conflict with the basic tenets of the Constitution. There is thus an urgent need to review the relationship of religion and caste as assumed in the acts that deal with the question of the membership of SCs.

Arthiyas in Punjab's APMC Mandis

A critique of "Commission Agent System: Significance in Contemporary Agricultural Economy of Punjab" by Sukhpal Singh and Shruti Bhogal (EPW, 7 November 2015).

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