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

Ramaswamy R IyerSubscribe to Ramaswamy R Iyer

World Commission on Dams and India

The response of the ministry of water resources to the World Commission on Dams and its report has been wholly negative. It has questioned the composition of the Commission, its procedures, the adequacy and representativeness of the sample studied, the 'knowledge base' of the report, the manner in which the report was finalised, and the fairness and objectivity of the analysis and findings. It has also found the Commission's approach to future planning objectionable and unacceptable. This paper attempts to examine some of the criticisms to the WCD and makes a plea for allowing a debate on the various issues raised rather than move towards an uncompromising polarisation of views.

Water: Charting a Course for the Future - II

Water has suddenly become a favoured subject for seminars and conferences all over the world. A common trend in most of the discussions is to proceed from projections of demand to supply-side solutions in the form of 'water resource development' projects; estimate the massive investment funds needed; take note of the severe limitations on the availability of financial resources with governments; point to private sector investment as the answer; and stress the need for policy change to facilitate this. In India, consciousness of the importance of the subject led to the appointment of the first National Commission on water, which submitted its report in September 1999. This paper attempts to provide a broad and compendious account of the state of affairs in India as far as water resources are concerned and to chart a course for the future. [The paper has been published in two parts, this being the second part. The first part appeared last week.]

Water: Charting a Course for the Future - I

Water has suddenly become a favoured subject for seminars and conferences all over the world. A common trend in most of the discussions is to proceed from projections of demand to supply-side solutions in the form of 'water resource development' projects; estimate the massive investment funds needed; take note of the severe limitations on the availability of financial resources with governments; point to private sector investment as the answer; and stress the need for policy change to facilitate this. In India, consciousness of the importance of the subject led to the appointment of the first National Commission on water, which submitted its report in September 1999. This paper attempts to provide a broad and compendious account of the state of affairs in India as far as water resources are concerned and to chart a course for the future.

Narmada Judgment

Two minor errors and an omission in my article on the Supreme Court judgment in the Narmada case (November 4) have been brought to my notice, and I wish to correct them. (i) The article says that the majority judgment allows construction to proceed up to 90 m, and thereafter to be subjected to...

A Judgment of Grave Import

The Supreme Court's judgment on the Narmada (Sardar Sarovar) case fails to deal with the very issue that was brought before it, namely, an existing situation of lapse and non-compliance in relation to certain aspects. It makes sweeping pronouncements about the desirability of dams. The judgment has introduced no new safeguards to ensure compliance but has advanced the doctrine that the existing institutions must be presumed to be working. The judgment is a negative answer to those who sought relief, and a severe blow to people's movements.

Water: Conflicts and Accommodation

Water: Conflicts and Accommodation Negotiating Water Rights edited by Bryan Randolph Bruns and Ruth S Meinzen-Dick; International Food Research Policy Institute; Vistaar Publications, 2000;

The Fallacy of 'Augmentation'

India and Bangladesh argue that their lean season requirements are greater than the Ganges flow. Both agree that 'augmentation' is the solution. But true augmentation can only come from efficient use of water and tapping other sources of water. In the case of a natural resource such as water, requirements are to be brought down to the level of availability of river flows, not the other way around.

Two Americas: A Useful Postulation

It is strange that many in this country still seem to think in terms of promoting good relations between India and the US, Given the wide divergence between the two countries on many vital matters, the best we can hope for is a relationship of honourable taciturnity.

Conflict-Resolution: Three River Treaties

This paper is structured around three treaties: the Indus Treaty, the Mahakali Treaty and the Ganga Treaty. In each case, the paper covers very briefly the background to and nature of the dispute, the approach to a resolution, the major features of the treaty, the manner in which it has been operating, the difficulties encountered, and how these can be resolved. It then sets forth some explanations and reflections that arise from these cases, including the complex interaction between water issues and political relations: the twin dangers of big-country insensitivity or arrogance and small-country pathology; the need to guard against a doctrinaire approach to the question of 'bilateralism' versus 'regionalism'; and the importance of not equating inter-country co-operation exclusively with a few large projects.

Water Resource Planning-Changing Perpectives

Changing Perspectives Ramaswamy R Iyer Water resources planning in India has largely meant irrigation development through big-dam projects. Over the years a powerful movement has emerged against such projects, The paper spells out the issues involved and the opposing views. There is a sharp polarisation of attitudes on this matter. The World Commission on Dams established by the World Bank and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in order to resolve this impasse is expected to submit its report in the year 2000, A crucial question in this context would be whether there are effective alternatives to large dams for meeting the future needs of water and energy. There have been some very successful local initiatives in watershed development and social transformation, which seem to indicate that significant results can be achieved through these means. What is needed is a major reorientation in the approach to water resource policy. The paper sets forth some recommendations in this regard.

Scarce Natural Resources and Language of Security

Language of Security Ramaswamy R Iyer CONFLICT Resolution' has become a favoured subject of study in recent years, In particular, the possibility of conflicts over scarce natural resources has evoked much interest not only in academia but also among 'think tanks', donor agencies, and institutions devoted to strategic or security studies. Many seminars, conferences and ' workshops' have been held on this theme. The purpose of the present article, which is based on a 'presentation' made by the author in one such conference, is to draw attention to the implications of a certain proposition which has gained considerable currency.

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