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