The Centre was holding discussions with states on the issue of bringing ‘water’ on the Concurrent List of the Constitution, Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said on Friday. She said the central government does not want to take the issue forward until it speaks to all states to see “if a solution can be worked out staying within the constitutional framework” without violating the rights of states.
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“There is a proposal whether water can be brought on the Concurrent List. Several parliamentarians have talked about it in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha,” she said at the third edition of Jal Manthan in New Delhi. “We don’t want to take the issue forward until we speak to all the states on whether some solution can be found out staying within the constitutional framework keeping in mind the rights of states,” she said.
According to an official statement issued later, the minister has said that the Centre is discussing the issue of bringing ‘water’ on the Concurrent List with states. Both the Centre and state can frame laws if ‘water’, at present part of the State List, is made part of the Concurrent List. Water supplies, irrigation and canals, drainage and embankments and storage fall on the State List.
Earlier, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources too had urged the Centre to initiate “earnest” efforts to build a national consensus for bringing water on the Concurrent List of the Constitution so that a comprehensive plan can be prepared for water conservation. The panel had said water needs to be dealt within a consultative manner, taking into consideration the overall national perspective and given the fact that the country will face acute water crisis in near future, especially ground water.