Save Water: Why don’t things work in India?
Now we have a separate policy to ‘Save Water‘. While there has been an attempt to link up the concern to save water with majority of issues involved such as emphasis on 3 R’s, need to adopt climate change adaptive strategies, equal focus on safe drinking water and sanitation, identification of river flow classification with ecological needs while giving space for development, linking up of water usage with crop productivity and crop diversification, devising the system to evolve water use benchmarks such as water footprint and water audit, recognition of the importance of community participation and local governing bodies, adequate disbursal of funds to states on various parameters along with identification of the need for monitoring management with the scope for setting up of Water Regulatory Authority.
The policy looks wholesome in letter and spirit. Is there anything missing? Not really. Should we then expect things to get better in days or years to come? The glance over nitty gritties of the policy makes us believe so. We have such several laws, policies and programs that affirm our faith in hope of changing conditions for better. Where does the fault lie then?
We have several think tanks, public policy groups and intellectuals all constantly working nationally as well as internationally on various public policy issues in the wake of providing a more effective and efficient framework and modifying to suit the prevalent conditions. These are all steps in the right direction. But there are loopholes that do not let things to move. Wheels are perfect but flaw lies in the mechanism to set them in motion.
There are many reasons that may be attributed for such a scenario. The key factors that have been responsible are serious lack of coordination between various state and para-state agencies as also between political executive and bureaucrats. There’s a sheer lack of sense of accountability and transparency among those who are responsible. Moreover, regulatory authorities that are set up are usually not given much teeth to enable them carry out their work properly; often in terms of financial autonomy and turning of legitimate political intervention to excessive political interference. The benchmarks set up to evaluate the policy usually get outmoded such as the poverty indicator or are tweaked to make them look as desired. While lately most of the policies talk about community participation and increased role of local bodies, many a times the concerned people or local authorities are not made much aware of such arrangements. Even if local governing bodies are aware of their roles, issues of corruption in various forms kills the hope. A coherent and comprehensive approach specifically when it comes to implementation of policies is needed to be adopted and followed upon strictly. All the stakeholders must be aware of both their rights and duties, only then can we expect a better place to live where you don’t have to scream that why is this or that not happening and when everything doesn’t accepted as ‘sab chalta hai yaar‘.
Article by Reeti. Do visit her blog: WINGS TO FLY HIGH