New Delhi: The National Water Resources Council on Friday approved the new national water policy amid opposition by some states over concerns that the legal framework proposed in the policy was an infringement on their constitutional rights.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stepped in to allay such fears, saying, “The central government does not wish to encroach, in any manner, upon the constitutionally guaranteed rights of states or to centralize water management... I would like to emphasize the need to see the proposed national legal framework in proper perspective.”
Water resources minister Harish Rawat said, “The policy will not be re-drafted. Some modifications will be made to address the concerns of the states.”
Besides suggesting a legal framework for water laws, the policy also proposes a water regulatory authority in all the states to fix and regulate the water tariff system and charges.
“Even while it is recognized that states have the right to frame suitable policies, laws and regulations on water, there is a felt need to evolve a broad over-arching national legal framework of general principles on water to lead the way for essential legislation on water governance in every state of the Union and devolution of necessary authority to the lower tiers of government to deal with the local water situation,” the policy reads.