Writing in The New Indian Express, Visiting Senior Fellow Shankkar Aiyar discusses the reforms needed to tackle India's water crisis. Excerpts:
"The moot challenge is less about the catalysts and more about engineering a structure for sustainable growth. Can India aspire for high growth without addressing the water crisis? The anguish and rage witnessed in Chennai and the riots in rural Bundelkhand are but vignettes of a severe national crisis. In just the first nine days of the 17th Lok Sabha, MPs have shot off 37 questions on water-related issues–ranging from groundwater depletion to water-borne diseases to water in public hospitals to access to drinking water.
The road to damnation is paved with lofty intentions. Consider the following declarations. In 1987, the first National Water Policy said: “Adequate drinking water facilities should be provided to the entire population, both in urban and in rural areas, by 1991.” The 2002 National Water Policy repeated the promise without a deadline. The 2012 National Water Policy declared that governments “must ensure access to a minimum quantity of potable water for essential health and hygiene to all its citizens.” Three decades after the first water policy, the Niti Aayog, last June, bluntly stated that “India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history–600 million people face high to extreme water stress. India is ranked 120th among 122 countries in water quality index."
Read the full article here.