What can be the possible implications of putting water in Union List instead of its current position in State List and contrary to demand to put it in Concurrent List? Discuss.

As per the constitution of India, Water is currently a State subject. but the provisions are not that much clear as it looks.

Coverage: The term water includes water supplies, irrigation, and canals, drainage, water storage, etc.

Complications: The primary entry in the Constitution regarding water is Entry 17 in the State List, but as per the provision of Entry 56, the parliament can intervene in interstate river matters.

It has the power to take over any river under the control of the Union.

No presence of river board is there though the entry 56 enacted the River Boards Act 1956.

Proposals: The Water Resource ministry has been trying to relocate the “water” to the Concurrent List.

Pros: From the ecological and environmental point of view, it is beneficial to put the total hydrological system under the supervision of the Union as well as State Government.

Considering the issues of groundwater depletion and water contamination it looks beneficial to put it in the concurrent list for better management.

The Center plays an important role in the cases of water resource deficit. So putting it in the concurrent list may act as a preventive measure.

The central government will have a better view of environmental impact over water resources.

Inter-State river disputes are on the rise. Putting water in the concurrent list would enable the center a better control.

Cons: Sudden inclusion of water into the concurrent list may create a political clutter as the decentralization technique will be dominated by the federal strategy.

Comment: As the inclusion procedure is going to face a lot of challenges so it is not a better idea, rather in order to get better control, the central government should move forward to the reintroduction of the River Boards Act 1956.

Question for UPSC Mains:
What can be the possible implications of putting water in Union List instead of its current position in State List and contrary to demand to put it in Concurrent List? Discuss.

Published: June 29, 2016 | Modified:August 16, 2020

Comments