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

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Focus on Agriculture in the National Water Policy

The National Water Policy, last revised in 2012, is a guiding principle for Indian states and it is expected that states take cognisance of the NWP while formulating their policies and laws. In 2019, the Ministry of Jal Shakti formed a committee to revise the NWP 2012 under Mihir Shah. Focusing on “water in agriculture,” this article recommends changes in the NWP. The adoption of an ecosystem-based approach and climate proofi ng of watersheds, promotion of water stewardship approach, the Water Governance Standard, climate-resilient agriculture, and policies that incentivise increased production of rain-fed crops have the potential to shift the “use narrative” in India’s water sector.

The Department of Water Resources, under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, constituted a drafting committee in November 2019 to revise the existing National Water Policy (NWP). Mihir Shah, a renowned water expert and a former member of the Planning Commission, chaired the committee. The first NWP was adopted in 1987; since then, the NWP has been revised twice in 2002 and 2012. The report of the NITI Aayog highlighted the alarming water crisis facing India where as many as 21 cities were expected to run out of groundwater by 2020 (Niti Aayog 2018). This underscores the need to evolve a NWP that not only addresses imminent challenges but also establishes a framework and pathway to sustainable, efficient and equitable management of surface and groundwater resources.

This article focuses on water in agriculture and its recommendations below seek to contribute towards a NWP that can address the issues in this sector.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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