Public Administration Mains 2018 : Model Question and Answer - 97

(Public Administration Paper II / Chapter: Union Government and Administration)

(Current Based) Question: There is need of federal consensus on making of a policy on river water sharing. Comment. (15 Marks/200 Words)

Model Answer:

The Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) powers and functions assume importance in view of the unresolved tension between the Centre and states over rights and access to river waters. Its success will hinge on addressing this challenge and will require a broader federal consensus on the Centre’s role in governing inter-state rivers.

The real problem requires a comprehensive policy response drawing on the force of a broader consensus between states about reworking their relationship with the Centre in managing inter-state rivers. In other words, the states have to agree to cede the necessary functional space to the Centre in the governance of inter-state river waters. This cannot happen without a nationwide debate and deliberations, similar to those that went into the making of the GST Council.

Responses to contingencies, such as complying with the Supreme Court’s orders on the Cauvery dispute, are unlikely to result in greater acceptance for the Centre’s role in governing inter-state rivers.

Instead, a federal consensus has to be the basis for resuscitating the River Boards Act, 1956. The Act has remained in disuse since its inception. None of the existing river water boards were actually created under this act.

The task of building the consensus should begin by trying to find the reasons for this anomaly. There should also be an audit of the successes and failures of the existing river water boards. (Total Words- 228)

Valuable inputs from The Indian Express Coulmn: ‘River, State and Centre' by Srinivas Chokkakula

(Linkages: Federal Consensus and Policy on River Water Sharing, Centre’s Role and Inter State River Affairs, Comprehensive Policy and Nationwide Debate )

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