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

Ramaswamy R IyerSubscribe to Ramaswamy R Iyer

IIM Controversy

What lies behind the human resource development ministry's direction to the IIMs on the subject of fees, and the argument sometimes put forward that the IIMs do not need the large corpuses that they have? A concern for the poor or a desire to reduce the financial strength of the institutions and make them dependent on the government? Does the government's reported inability to provide a written or oral undertaking on the subject of respecting the autonomy of the IIMs arise from technical or legal considerations, or is there in fact a definite intention to reduce the IIMs to the position of subordinate offices of the ministry?

Tashkent and Beijing: Visits and Conferences

The differing pace of development between India and China has invited much comment. This paper is an account of two separate visits to two ancient Asian capitals, Tashkent and Beijing and looks at the historical linkages between these cities and India.

Cauvery Dispute:A Dialogue between Farmers

As a civil society initiative to promote understanding among the people of the contending states and find an agreed solution to the Cauvery dispute, two meetings were organised in Chennai and Bangalore primarily of farmers from the two principal contending states. Both meetings were marked by a fraternal, harmonious and constructive spirit and a committee of farmers supported by a few advisers and facilitators has been set up. While it will be foolish to imagine that the long-festering dispute can be easily resolved, the positive approach displayed in the two meetings was encouraging and a cautious optimism seems warranted.

Linking of Rivers

irrigation in the desert areas of Rajasthan would need examination from all angles; Linking of Rivers that the NWDA

Linking of Rivers: Judicial Activism or Error?

The Supreme Court's direction that the rivers of India shall be linked within 10 years is not at all a defensible instance of judicial activism. That apart, turning to the merits of the direction, one wishes that the learned judges had undertaken a more careful study of the subject before deciding to issue directions. Fortunately these are interim directions, and there is still time for a reconsideration of the matter. It is to be hoped that the Task Force that is to be set up as directed by the Supreme Court will consider not merely the 'modalities' of the `linking of rivers' but also the soundness and wisdom of the idea. Any headlong rush in the pursuit of this chimera will be disastrous.

Development or Destruction?

Tubewell Capitalism: Groundwater Development and Agrarian Change in Gujarat by Navroz K Dubash; Oxford University Press, 2002; pp Xiii + 287, Rs 595.

Inter-State Water Disputes Act 1956

The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) has recommended the repeal of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act (ISWD Act) and the enactment of a new Act. Its recommendation is to bring river water disputes within the original and exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. This article argues that the repeal of the ISWD Act would be singularly ill-advised. Article 262 together with the ISWD Act represents a very good mechanism for dispute-resolution (as a last resort when negotiations fail) and it would be a great pity to dismantle it. There have been some deficiencies in the functioning of that mechanism; the amendments to the ISWD Act passed in early 2002 seek to remedy them and some further improvements are suggested here. The NCRWC is right in wanting to restore the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, but it should be appellate jurisdiction.

Was the Indus Waters Treaty in Trouble?

The Indus Treaty between India and Pakistan has acquired a reputation internationally as a successful instance of conflict resolution. It has been working reasonably well despite a difficult political relationship between the two countries and was not abrogated even during periods of war. It appears to have survived the recent crisis as well.

The New National Water Policy

The revision of the National Water Policy was a wholly internal governmental exercise, with no consultations with people and institutions outside. Further, it was a mere 'amendment' exercise, and the resulting document can hardly be described as a 'new policy'. The two most egregious failures of the new NWP are in relation to water-harvesting and community management of water. The prime minister's speech to the NWRC stressed both, but there is nothing corresponding to this in the NWP. Important controversies such as those relating to water as 'commodity' versus water as 'commons' or 'a basic right', the desirability of water markets, etc, are ignored. A valuable opportunity for a comprehensive review and a well-considered new statement has been lost. However, NWP 2002 is now the officially declared policy, and will stay in place for some years. While pointing out deficiencies and calling for revisions, the attempt must be to see what can be done with the document as it exists. Through proper, effective and repeated citation, the document can in fact be made to come alive and serve useful purposes.

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