The movement towards water conservation has to take place at the grassroots level. It cannot become a mere government Programme.”- Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi in Independence Day Speech. “Half of India is water-stressed. The need is to start a Jan Andolan (mass movement) so that we can conserve water for future generations. At present, we are only being able to save 8% of the rainwater; this percentage needs to go up,” – Shri Gajendra Shekhawat, Union minister for Jal Shakti."नहीं है जल, तो नहीं फसल। कम जल ले, वो 'सही फसल'।"  The new ‘Sahi-Fasal’ initiative of National Water Mission (NWM), Ministry of Jalshakti.


1. India has 18% of the world’s population but only 4% of its water.

Since independence, the population of the country has increased almost fourfold and is expected to continue to grow till 2050 before it begins to stabilize. The Indian economy is growing at a fast pace due to urbanization and industrialization. Immense quantities of water are, therefore required for agriculture, domestic requirements and industry. Improper and indiscriminate exploitation of groundwater is compounding the problem.

2. Water Availability. 

The total precipitation in the country is around 4000 Billion Cubic Metre (BCM). Of this, 3000 BCM is confined to three to four months during June to Sept. Considering losses due to evaporation/, soil absorption, percolation etc, the average annual natural runoff is about 1869 BCM. Because of topographical and other constraints only 690 BCM surface water and 433 BCM groundwater can be put to beneficial use. According to the population census of 2001 and 2011and projections for 2025 and 2050, the average annual per capita availability of water reveals a decreasing trend from 1567 in 2011 to 1140 cubic meters in 2050 due to increase in population.

3. Shortage and Scarcity. 

Water security is calculated based on the annual per capita availability of water. If it is between 1700 and 1000 cubic meters, it is a “water stress” situation and below 1000 cubic metres it is a “water scarcity” condition. The figure for the year 2011in the case of India was 1567 cubic meters, placing it in the category of a “water-stressed” nation. By 2050, when the population is likely to touch 1.6 billion, water availability will reduce to 1140 cubic metres, bringing India close to the “water scarcity condition”.

4. Surface and Ground Water.

(a) On an average, India receives about 4000 BCM of precipitation annually. The total annual water resources availability is estimated at 1869 BCM. Agriculture is the predominant consumer of groundwater resources using 221 BCM (91percent) of total annual groundwater and 22 BCM or 9 per cent is for domestic and industrial use.

(b) Most of our water sources are polluted on account of wastewater from domestic and industrial use, pollutants in agricultural run-off and drainage waters, deposition of air-pollutants etc.

(c) Existing Storage potential. 

India ranks third globally after China and the USA in terms of the number of dams. There are about 4850 completed large dams giving a storage capacity of 300 BCM. With projects under construction/consideration storage capacity will increase by another 50 BCM against an overall country’s estimated storage potential of around 700BCM.

5. Issues and Challenges In Water Sector.

(a) Variation in Water Availability. The unevenness and variation in precipitation have led to complex situations like the distinctly different monsoon and non-monsoon seasons, the high and low rainfall areas and the drought-flood-drought syndrome. 

(b) Declining Per Capita Water Availability. The declining per capita water availability is a cause for concern. By 2050, about 22% of the area and 17% of the population may be under absolute scarcity conditions.

(c) Inequitable Water Distribution. Inequitable distribution of water among the head and the tail reaches of the command area has led to problems in bridging the gap between irrigation potential created and utilized as well as waterlogging and salinity.

(d) Low Irrigation Efficiency. Irrigation efficiency in our country is of the order of only 25% to 35% in most irrigation systems, going up to 40% to 45% in a few cases. Reasons for this are dilapidated irrigation systems, unlined canal systems, lack of field channels, lack of canal communication network, lack of field drainage, improper field leveling etc.

(e) Ingress of salinity in coastal areas, due to excess groundwater depletion and less water reaching the sea be tackled.

(f) The impact of climate change factor may lead to uncertain hydrological patterns, with the possibility of more floods & droughts.

(g) India shares two-thirds of its water resources with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan and India is dependent for its major water resources on the upper riparian countries of China, Nepal & Bhutan. “Hydro Diplomacy” with neighbours assumes special significance. Indo Bhutan cooperation on Hydroelectricity has enabled Bhutan to derive substantial boost to its revenues by the sale of Hydropower to India. 

(h) Interstate water disputes on sharing water have dragged on and holding up storage& river linking projects. Addressing Issues & Challenges in the Water Sector.

6. (a) While attention hitherto has been to address the “Supplyside” of the problem by creating more storage dams etc, there is a need to plan River Linking Projects, rehabilitating existing water storage infrastructure by de-silting, dredging, groundwater recharging, rainwater harvesting, time has come to address the “Demand-side” management by adopting conservation measures and following the Mantra-”Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” water.

(b) Industry, besides meeting strict pollution standards on effluents must pursue more water-efficient technologies. Many MNC’s have water requiring hybrids should be our thrust areas. In domestic areas, besides Rainwater Harvesting in urban areas particularly, water sewage treatment & reuse in horticulture assume special significance. With pollution & contamination of both surface & groundwater, the focus will have to be both on “Quantum & Quality of water”

7. Ministry of Jal Shakti has consolidated institutional structures to bring interrelated water management functions together and drive more effective outcomes.

8. Some of the pertinent issues the Govt must focus upon have been considered by Surya Foundation Water Think Tank after consulting a large number of experts on the Subject. Recommendations for implementation are discussed in the subsequent paragraphs for your consideration.


Action Plan for Conservation & Management of Water in India.

9. Pricing of Water.

(a) Appropriate pricing of water is an important issue in promoting Conservation at the retail level. State Govts must progressively withdraw concepts like free water, free electricity. If required, direct benefit transfer of subsidy can later be considered for weaker/target sections, by a provision in State budgets. This factor also needs to be factored in the new Drinking Water Mission.

(b) There is need for strict audits in Water distribution agencieswhether against physical water leakages or in billing efficiency with a focus on 100% metering. This needs to be ensured. Higher consumption levels should attract higher rates as a deterrent besides introducing the system of supply of water by rationing for limited hours.

Legislative Enactments.

10. National Water Framework Bill (2016). Govt has placed Draft National Water Frame Work Bill 2016 (May 2016) in Public Domain. The Bill addresses concepts like “Right to Water for Life”, water, including groundwater as a common resource held in Public Trust, maintaining ecological Integrity of Rivers and Water Bodies etc.

11. Model Bill for the Conservation, Protection, Regulation and Management of Groundwater, 2016. The bill recognizes the nature of water resource and the need for decentralizing control to an extent as well as the imperative requirement to protect the source/aquifer from overexploitation. The bill accepts water as a fundamental right to be held in “public trust” and provides for precautionary & protective principles. It is recommended that “groundwater” is brought under Concurrent list with Centre controlling exploitation beyond a critical depth and State Govts controlling depths beyond permissible limits for landowners.

12. Justice Doabia Committee Report on Optimal Development of River Basin and Changes in Existing River Boards Act, 1956: River Basin Management Bill 2018. The Draft Act, recommended by the Committee proposes a two-tier structure for River Basin Authority with an “Upper Governing Council” of Chief Ministers of co basin states, Minister in charge of Water in the States, concerned MPs etc. and an Executive Board for implementation of the council’s decisions. The focus should be on integrated River Basin Planning. The Council will have powers to make recommendations to the basin states on the regulation of interstate rivers. A dispute resolution mechanism by way of persuasion, conciliation and mediation has also been provided. With regard to River Basin Linking, the committee has opined that the subject should be covered by a separate legislation.

13. Draft Ganga Bill (Under Formulation). The Bill is stated to aim at environmental protection of the Ganga to preserve its water quality and to provide the necessary back up Regulatory Authority. The Bill seeks to prohibit not only untreated water but also treated water to be discharged into the Ganga. This is a very laudable approach as this will not only put pressure on the polluter to reduce water consumption but also acquire necessary land to make profitable use of water which may bring about several innovations. It is recommended that the Act in due course transforms itself as a” National River & Water Body Preservation & Protection Act”.

14. There is a need for quick legislation of all draft bills discussed above including amendments to the Groundwater Act.

15. Ground Water Depletion. (a) In India 85% of Rural Drinking Water, 55% of Urban Water and 60% of Irrigation Water is obtained from Groundwater resources. On depletion of Groundwater to alarming low levels, the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) initiatives on Aquifer management and artificial recharging of aquifers need to be hastened with extra funding. However, its efficiency must be monitored. Contamination of groundwater will require constant monitoring. There is a need for all State Govts to set up State

Groundwater Boards on the lines of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

(b) Atal Bhujal Yojana. Govt. has done well to support the

Rs 6,000 crore, World Bank aided initiative of Ministry of Water Resources to address critically depleting Ground Water Resources in the identified 8,350 panchayats /78 districts, of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, UP and Maharashtra, which represent 25% of distressed areas in the country. More importantly, community participation should be encouraged in bringing about behavioral changes in water conservation practices. There is also a need to extend the concept on an All India basis.

16. National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG). “The Namami Gange

Programme” covers 26% of India’s landmass, contributes to 28% of India’s water resources, makes fertile 57% of India’s agricultural land with 43% of India’s population dependant on it. There are 11 states in the Ganga Basin, with 5 states, Uttarakhand, UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal in the main stem. The vision of the Ganga Rejuvenation addresses restoring the wholesomeness of the River defined in terms of ensuring “Aviral Dhara” (Continuous flow), Nirmal Dhara (Unpolluted flow), Geological & Ecological integrity. There are seven thrust areas- Determination & maintenance of environmental flow (Aviral Dhara), Upgradation & creation of new Sewage treatment plants with abatement of industrial pollution (Nirmal Dhara), Riverfront development with public amenities supported by a Ganga Task Force. Research & monitoring, use of GIS, Monitoring systems and setting up research facilities, protection of aquatic flora & fauna, afforestation drive with medicinal plants & native trees conserving the diversity of Ganga aquatic life, awareness creation through communication & public outreach activities is part of the programme.

17. In July 2014 the vision for the NMGC was translated into mission mode with the creation of a separate Ministry for Ganga Rejuvenation. A collaborative set up of Central Ministries & State Govts to launch the Namami Gange Flagship Programme was set up in May 2015. With around Rs 4,000 crores spent on the mission from 1985 to 2015, it is gratifying to note the thrust this programme has received up to June 2018 with sanction for projects amounting to Rs 22,238 crores for the period 2015-20. 

18. The magnitude of sewage pollution can be appreciated with 3,000 million litres of sewage generated in 97 towns discharged through 155 drains daily into Ganga, Industrial pollution of 669 MLD from Tanneries, Paper, Sugar, Textiles, Distilleries, besides agricultural runoff, open defecation, partially cremated bodies etc. Sanctioned projects will cover creation of new sewage infrastructure of capacity 2,400 MLD, rehabilitation/ up-gradation of 880 MLD of the existing infrastructure along the river. The capacity will be progressively augmented to handle requirements up to the year 2035. Concept of “One City, One Operator” is being adopted in all major towns under Hybrid annuity-based PPP model is commendable and is linked to performance specifications. One notable approach in the PPP model is charges for Operation & Maintenance (O&M) being provided for 15 years, thereby relieving the burden on cash-starved Municipalities & local bodies. Capacity of the plants are planned to cater for the growing needs up to 2035 Riverfront development including Ghats & Crematoria have been planned. 44 real-time water quality monitoring systems are planned along the length of the river. A cadre of self motivated Ganga Praharis who will monitor the Conservation of Ganga, its biodiversity, plantation techniques by propagating the concept of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” water; e.g. NMCG has entered into an MOU with IOC’s Mathura refinery for development of a 20 MLD treatment plant for supply of treated wastewater to Mathura Refinery, with IOC to bear full O&M cost and partial capital cost through water tariff.

19. The Draft Ganga River Act under formulation prohibits discharge of untreated water and treated water back into the river. This is an important approach as it will put pressure on the “Polluters” to acquire land & reuse its recycled water thereby putting pressure on polluters of water to reduce pollution as well as innovate means of reusing the water. It is recommended that the Draft Ganga Act should be enlarged to become a “National Preservation Act of Rivers, Water Bodies, Reservoirs and Tanks” etc to protect all rivers and water resources in India. State Govts must introduce charges for water supply & sewage on all users with regard to Operation & Maintenance (O&M) cost of infrastructure and problems municipalities may face. It is proposed that the Govt of India considers levy of an environmental cess for water protection & creation of a dedicated fund to support capital and O&M requirements for sewage infrastructure. NMCG has done well to provide O&M for sewage plants for a period of 15 years. The capacity of plants will cater to the needs up to 2035.

20. The National Green Tribunal has expressed concern on the poor quality of water in the Ganga. Perhaps, it is too early to expect any dramatic improvements in water quality with only 10% of STP capacity (Sewage Treatment Plant) required having been built so far and other interventions to be progressed.

21. In Western countries, rivers are viewed in an economic context. In India Ganga is revered and is a matter of faith for the average Indian. There is a need to accelerate this endeavour with all its complexities and challenges. There is need to bring about major behavioral changes in the population for its success. It is also important that the “Namami Gange” concept gets extended to all river systems and water bodies in India and planning commences immediately in this regard to bring about a great transformational change in the River Systems in India.

22. Important Issues. The following be implemented to support the sustainability of the “Clean Ganga Project”:-

(a) Levy an “Environmental Cess” to support the sustainability of “Clean Ganga Project”.(b) Need for implementing stricter laws on polluters. Adhere to the “Polluter Pay Principle”.(c) Developing and Instituting an Environment Act to address River and Water Body concerns.

(d) A River Protection Force, drawn from Ex-servicemen / Veterans, must be tasked for Ecological protection along the entire length of the River. (Raise additional Army Ecological Battalions if required)

(e) Institute and encourage Organic farming near the banks of the rivers on a long term basis. This will control fertilizer and pesticides pollution.

(f) Make “One City One Operator” a mandatory requirement to ensure that all facets of Cleanliness and operation of STPs in particular along the length of the river are ensured.

23. NITI Aayog Paper On Composite Index for Water Use (June 2018)

(a) NITI Aayog paper on “Composite Index Water Use”, highlighting comparative figures of States in their use of water pertaining to Agriculture, Industry and Urban use (Domestic Water Supply/ Rain Harvesting etc). This is an excellent tool for Water Management based on Benchmarking practices. It will be useful, if “Best in class figures”, Globally are also taken into account, to analyze causes for low performance. Focus on Conservation- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle concept is the need of the hour. An overall improvement of 20% efficiency in the usage of water can give an additional water availability of 130 BCM to the country. Indices for the cost of water for various utilization should also be progressively evolved. There is need to match cropping patterns with water availability e.g. Shift Paddy progressively from Punjab where groundwater levels have gone down to critical levels as well as sugar cane from Maharashtra to the rain surplus Eastern Sector. Funding for R&D for development of low water requiring crops must be increased. Drip/micro irrigation in poor rain-fed areas must be incentivized. There is urgent need to launch a “Second Green Revolution” in India, focusing on the Eastern Sector with good rainfall and Rainfed areas-which missed the benefits of the first Green Revolution in India.

(b) NITI Aayog’s Comprehensive Water Management Index (CWMI) 2019. Measures adopted show that overall performance remains well-below of what is required to adequately tackle India’s water challenges. “High-performers continue to demonstrate strong water management practices, but low-performers are struggling to cope up. Top performers such as Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh have further increased their scores over the last three years, with, Nagaland and Meghalaya still score less than 40 points and the average improvement in low-performing category over the last three years stands at 3.1 points which is lower than the 5.2-point average improvement observed across states”.

24. “Large economic contributors have low-water management scores; poor management can hamper India’s economic progress. Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, and Delhi, four of the top ten contributors to India’s economic output have scores ranging from 20 points to 47 points on the Comprehensive Water Management Index (CWMI). Given the role of water in any form of economic activity, water shortages can lead to reduced output in these states and as a consequence threaten India’s aspirations to be an economic superpower in the future. These four states collectively account for over a quarter of India’s population and reduced economic activity will reduce employment and livelihood opportunities. Food security is also at risk given that large agricultural producers are struggling to manage their water resources effectively. None of the top 10 agricultural producers in India, except Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, score more than 60 points on the CWMI.”

25. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY)

A good initiative seeking to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation, improve on-farm water use and adoption of precision irrigation and other watersaving technologies. PMKSY is an integral programme of the schemes of Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Rejuvenation Programme, Ministry of Rural Development etc.

26. Improving Efficiency of Existing Water Infrastructure.

Central Govt. has done well to focus on rehabilitation of the existing water infrastructure, including dams in the country, arrangements for dam safety, providing support to State Govts by way of funds to complement and supplement their efforts on dam safety by implementing World Bank funded Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP). Central Water Commission (CWC) should help giving the necessary expertise in these inspections. A preliminary survey be ordered to assess state of all Dams and the overall fund requirements.

27. Initiatives of Delhi Govt in Water Conservation.

(a) It is worth mentioning that Delhi does not have sufficient water resources of its own and depends upon the neighbouring states to meet its drinking water needs. The present potable water production capacity of Delhi is approximately 900 MGD against a peak demand of 1140 MGD. In order to meet the ever-growing water demand of the National Capital, Delhi presently needs about 240 MGD of additional raw water. The available surface water sources are inadequate to meet the increasing water demand of NCT Delhi. Groundwater forms a vital part in augmenting the resources.

(b) Delhi Jal Board is striving hard to augment the Ground Water by way of implementing the policy on recharging Ground Water adopting the Rain Water Harvesting by various Stake Holders and further taking initiatives for reviving and rejuvenating Water Bodies to a large extent. The policy of utilization of treated effluent for Horticulture and other purposes like washing of vehicles and Railway Wagons is already in place and presently treated effluent is being utilized to an extent of 20% of the total treated effluent being generated on a daily basis. The main consumers are MCD, DTC, NDMC, PWD, Railways etc.

28. Policy to Utilize Treated Waste Water for Horticulture and Other Purposes. The concept of Decentralized Waste Water Treatment can be used for treating up to 1 MLD of sewage locally as larger volumes of sewage would need extensive land. Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has already implemented a model project on the above lines with 8000 Litres per day capacity using a portion of waste water of Varunalaya Phase 1 treated effluent for horticulture purposes. NDMC has also installed a decentralized STP at many locations and the treated effluent is being used by them for horticulture purpose in their parks. The raw sewage is being lifted by them from the nearby sewer network. It is therefore, proposed to encourage implementation of Decentralized Waste Water Treatment System (DWWTS) in all 5000 Schools Institutions/ Complexes/ Parks/ Hospitals etc. All large parks in Green Belt areas whether with Delhi Govt./ DDA/ MCD etc. would not be allowed to use groundwater anymore and instead they should be asked to make arrangement for DWWTS near to the feeding point provided by DJB from where they can lift raw sewerage from the sewer line, treat it and use for their horticulture needs. Once this DWWTS is activated, duly verified by DJB Engineers, any bore-wells in schools, colleges and institution premises would be sealed. DJB should also permit departments, societies and institutions use of water from sewer man holes in the vicinity of their areas for horticulture purposes only. Recent Union Govt. Initiatives on Conservation of Water.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan

29. The Jal Shakti Abhiyan, a national campaign for water conservation and water security in the country was launched on 1st July 2019, in pursuance of PM’s call. The campaign to be run with citizen participation is in two phases. Firstly, during the monsoon season, from 1st July 2019 to 15th September 2019 and then from 1st October 2019 to 30th November 2019 for states receiving the North East retreating monsoons. It is a collaborative effort of various Ministries of the Government and State Governments, being coordinated by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) under Jal Shakti Ministry. The focus of the campaign is on Water-Stressed Districts and Blocks. Teams of officers from Central Government will work with District Administration in 1592 water-stressed blocks in 256 districts. Theseinclude 313 critical blocks, 1,000-odd over-exploited blocks and 94 blocks with least water availability.

30. Important water conservation interventions under this programme are:- 

(a) Water conservation and rainwater harvesting,

(b) Renovation of traditional and other water bodies/tanks,

(c) Reuse of water and recharging of structures,

(d) Watershed development and Intensive afforestation.

31. Water Conservation.

interventions will also be supplemented with 
special interventions including the development of Block and District Water Conservation plans, promotion of efficient water use for irrigation and a better choice of crops through Krishi Vigyan Kendras. There is a need for wastewater policy both for urban and rural areas that promotes water use efficiency, recycling and reuse, while also ensuring financial viability and sustainability of water utilities. With respect to wastewater generation, the Centre Pollution Control Board estimates that of the total 135 Litres Per Capita Per Day (LPCD) water supplied in urban areas, 85 LPCD is going back in form of sewage, which could be reused if planned efficiently. With diminishing wastewater recycling and reuse by the municipal sector and increased water consumption by the growing population, wastewater treatment and reuse of reclaimed water for non-potable and industrial purposes become a critical alternative to freshwater production and supply

Jal Jeevan Mission

32. The objective of the Mission, announced by the PM on 15 August 2019 is to provide piped water supply (Har Ghar Jal) to all rural and urban households by 2024. An estimated outlay of Rs 3.5 lakh crore has been proposed. Activities presently would be carried out under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) and more than 50% of funds will be earmarked for small water infrastructure assets. The Mission also aims to create local infrastructure for rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household wastewater for reuse in agriculture. The Mission is to be based on various water conservation efforts like point recharge, desilting of minor irrigation tanks, use of greywater for agriculture and source sustainability. Depleting groundwater levels, overexploitation and deteriorating water quality, climate change, etc. are major challenges to provide potable drinking water. The Jal Jeevan Mission will converge with other Central and State Government Schemes to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across the country.

33. Focus on Creation of Storage including Large Dams.

(a) Storage is an effective conservation measure whether it is for runoff water, excess water in rivers in monsoon or floods or excessive discharges in the sea.

(b) Considering that India is likely to become “water-scarce” by 2025 & “water-stressed” by 2050 with uncertainties due to climate changes, India has to immediately revisit the issue of creation of large water storage dams as a matter of national survival. Large storage dams created after independence contributed to India’s Green Revolution and Food Security by way of large irrigation schemes. Unfortunately, the subject has received a setback due to controversies on Relief and Rehabilitation (R&R) and Environmental and Forest clearances. 

34. Hydro projects are now being taken up as Run of River (ROR) without any storage potential. Despite India having around 5000 dams, the annual per capita storage capacity is only around 225 Cubic Meters (BCM) compared to 1,200 Cubic Meters in China. Against a potential of 700 BCM, India has so far constructed a storage capacity of around 300 BCM.

35. There is an urgent requirement to plan the creation of around 150 BCM additional storage capacity in the next 15 years by drawing a comprehensive plan ensuring a very effective R&R policy addressing Eco concerns. There is a need to explore the potential in trans boundary rivers, strengthening Indo - Nepal & Indo – Bhutan cooperation on water alongwith a need to explore feasibility of having reservoirs in the Western Ghats where considerable water runs down to the Arabian Sea with a potential of 30 BCM from an annual flow of 200 BCM as per the Irrigation Commission Report of 1972. It is important to utilize full entitlements of water in the Eastern subsystem of Indus Waters without discharging them into Pakistan. Diversion of Brahmaputra by China in the upper reaches where the river takes a bend to India is an issue requiring constant vigil. An imperative need to build awareness on the adverse impacts of Global Warming and Climate Changes on India’s Water Security among the public, legislators, Parliamentarians and Policymakers as also Civil Society so that judicious long term decisions are taken on time. Often large storage dams attract debates on “Small vs big dams”. There is a need to avoid extreme approaches as India needs small, medium and large dams together for survival. Prioritization of Projects.

36. It is recommended that the following storage projects which enable flood control in Ganga & Brahmaputra Basins be given top priority for planning & construction:-

(a) Arunachal Pradesh-Brahmaputra. Plan a potential of 30 BCM mainly on the Subarnasari Upper & Kamla projects, Upper Siang, Kali-Hutong etc. 

(b) Indo Nepal-Pancheshwar. This should be on a priority basis, Sapta-Kosi, Karnali and Gandak. 

(c) Bhutan- Sankosh (6 BCM) and Manas (unexploited due to West Bengal’s concern on submergence). Sankosh-Manas-Teesta link will help the transfer of surplus water (around43BCM) to other needy areas & progress Indo-Bangladesh water accord requiring the release of 2 BCM during the lean season.

(d) Himachal Pradesh- Renukaji.

(e) Uttarakhand - Lakhwar multipurpose project, Kishaur (on the border with Himachal Pradesh Hydro-Electric (HE) and Storage project).

(f) J&K - Bursar HE Project, in Kishtwar, Pakul Dam (HE and Drinking Water), Ujh MPP (utilization under Indus water treaty provisions).

(g) Jharkhand - Karkai (Subarnarekha).

(h) It is necessary to expedite Hydro - Electric Projects (HEP) as under:-

(i) Bhutan-Punatsangchu-1 (1200MW) & Punatsangchu-2 (1,020MW).

(ii) Subarnasri, (lower) and Dihang (lower Dihang district).

(i) Considering agitations in Assam and opposition to R&R in Arunachal Pradesh, the Govt should consider a “Special Economic Package” for development of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and also the North East by sanctioning utilization of power to this region from a part of the Electric Power generated to boost economic activity in the Eastern Region. There is a case for fine-tuning of Hydro Policy in allowing lower Riparian states to have a small percentage of “free power”. (j) The following, under construction Hydro Electric Projects (HEP)/ Storage Projects with CWC monitoring need to be expedited:- 

i. Punant Sangchu-1 (1020)mw-Bhutan

ii. Punant Sangchu (1,020MW) –Bhutan

iii. Karkai (Subarnarekha),Jharkhand

iv. Lakhwar MPP, Uttarakhand (300MW).

37. Large Reservoirs / Dams Under Planning/Construction.

(a) Dihang Dam in lower Dihang district (world’s largest gravity dam) with a capacity of 3,000MW.

(b) Bursar HEP at Gypsa on Chenab project.

(c) Kishau Dam on the border of Himachal Pradesh / Uttarakhand (HEP and Storage) on the Tons River.

(d) Manibadra (now proposed at Barmar to reduce submergence), Mahanadi/Odisha (10 BCM potential/ 60,000 ha submergence). 

(e) Subarnasri, Lower Dam (Border of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam).\

38. CAG Report on Slow Progress of Major Irrigation/Power

Projects Approved in 2008. As per a recent CAG report, out of 16 major irrigation /power projects approved in 2008, only a few are in execution at Gosi Khurd (Maharashtra), Teesta (West Bengal), Saryu (UP), Indirasagar (MP), Pollavaram (Andhra Pradesh) and Shahpurkandi (Punjab). Even though Rs 133 billion (Rs 13,300 crores) has already been spent on these projects (upto March 2017), none are nearing completion. A cost escalation of over 2,000% has already taken place. Other projects yet to see implementation stage are - Lakwar (Uttrakhand), Renuka Dam (Himachal), Ujh (J&K), Ken – Betwa (MP/ UP), Kosi Dam (Nepal), North Dibang (Arunachal), Bursar 2nd (J&K), Ravi (Himachal), Upper Siang (Arunachal). Central & State Govts need to give due consideration to the report. Submergence of land, Relief & Rehabilitation and Land Acquisition are the major problems to be resolved.

Interlinking River Basins.

39. This concept needs to be vigorously pursued especially in the context of the recent heavy floods in Kerala and Karnataka. The Teesta – Ganga – Cauvery link is an ambitious North-Southth link project and needs to be taken up on priority. Consensus on the sharing of waters among concerned states is a difficult challenge but would need to be resolved using Interstate Council mechanism etc. River linking projects like Ken Betwa etc need to be expedited on a priority basis. These are being held up due to inter-state agreement in sharing of waters, despite the Union Govt declaring Ken Betwa a National project & agreeing to bear 90% project cost. Wildlife clearance for the Panna Tiger reserve is another issue holding progress on the interlinking as it involves submergence of 7% of the area. The issue is with the Supreme court now.

40. Ministry of Water Resources has been stressing the need for a Water Grid for India which is a timely suggestion. Creation of some water storage dams in adjacent states, with links, be considered for diverting large scale floodwaters. Experience of the recent floods in Kerala is a pointer for such a requirement.

41. There have been suggestions for water being brought under the Concurrent List, in as much as surplus waters to be transferred to various river basins by river link programmes. Considering delays in storage of water & delay in river linking projects, on interstate water disputes on sharing water with cases dragging up to Supreme Court for decades, the Union Govt should use powers in Union List Entry 56 effectively. It is hoped that with the Amendment (2017) to Interstate Water Sharing Disputes Act 1956 with final approval from Parliament it should provide relief to the issue. Early passing of River Basin Bill will also help.

42. Desalination Plants. In Coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat etc there is a need to set up large desalination plants, on the Israeli model to meet the large urban drinking water requirements. Recommended that Desalination Plants be transferred to the Ministry of Urban Development for better implementation. With Solar Electricity prices coming down, Desalination projects will become a very viable proposition in future. In fact, there is a case to consider almost 100% water supply to major urban cities like Chennai through Mega Desalination plants. A “Make in India” focus would needs to be introduced for technology & other desalination equipment. Urban issues.

43. “Water supply of 135 Litres Per Capita Per Day (LPCD) be given for domestic water use in urban local bodies. Currently, as per the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering organisation (CPHEEO), average water supply in urban local bodies is 69.25 LPCD which indicates that there is a vast gap between demand and supply of water in urban areas of India.

44. The problem of access to safe drinking water in urban areas of India is also a major concern. It is estimated that by 2050, half of India’s population will be living in urban areas and will face acute water problems. At present, 163 million people do not have access to safe drinking water. In addition, there is a lack of wastewater treatment facilities to treat the wastewater of a growing population. There is a need to reuse treated wastewater in order to meet the current and future demands for water.

45. Prevention of pollution of water sources is extremely critical in order to continue supply of quality water. Available data suggest that pollution levels have increased in surface water as well as groundwater. More than 100 million people in urban areas are exposed to poor water quality. Lack of sufficient infrastructure, services and funds to support water and wastewater treatment facilities required for an urban area further increase the problem. Moreover, drainage and solid waste collection services are not adequate in most of the urban areas. Systems are either poorly planned and designed or operate without inadequate maintenance. Use of natural capacities of soil and vegetation (green infrastructure) can be applied to absorb and treat waste water. Natural systems are found to be cost effective and require low building, labour and maintenance cost.

46. In order to meet future urban water challenges, there is a need to shift the way we manage urban water systems. An Integrated Urban Water Management approach must be adopted which involves managing freshwater, wastewater, and stormwater using an urban area as the unit of management. The approach encompasses various aspects of water management, including environmental, economic, technical, political, as well as social impacts and implications. There is need to strengthen Public-private Partnerships’ (PPP) in this regard.

47. NITI Aayog. Water has been recognized as being vital to India’s economic growth, well being o its people and the sustainability of ecosystems. Over the last few years the Govt. as well States have been implementing a range of projects focused on ground water recharge, responsible use of technologies such as micro-irrigation. Govt has consolidated structures under the Ministry of Jal Shakti to bring Water Management functions together for effective outcomes.

48. Disappearance of Water bodies in Rural Areas. According to the 4th Minor Irrigation (MI) census, carried out during 2006-2007, there were the 5,23,816 water bodies - declining by 32,785 from 5,56,601 water bodies identified during the 3rd MI census of 2000- 2001. Of these 5,23,816 water bodies, 80,128, or 15 per cent, were found “not in use” any more. 51% of the total water bodies in disuse were in Karnataka & in Rajasthan (40 per cent). The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources which looked into the issue and submitted two reports in 2016 and 2017 wanted additional details for Rural and Urban areas in this regard Repair, Renovation and Restoration Scheme

49. Significance of restoring or reviving water bodies cannot be overemphasized. Realizing the seriousness of problem confronting water bodies, the Centre had launched the Repair, Renovation and Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies’ scheme in 2005 with the objective of comprehensive improvement and restoration of traditional water bodies, including increasing tank storage capacity, groundwater recharge, increased availability of drinking water, improvement of catchment areas. Respecting Traditional Wisdom and Practices for Water Solutions

50. The United Nation’s (UN) World Water Development Report of 2018 draws attention to the traditional nature-based solution to address the water crisis. It highlights two examples.

(a) One is the experiment by India’s waterman Rajendra Singh in Rajasthan which restored water resources in Alwar district through the construction of small-scale water harvesting structures. This brought water to 1,000 drought-hit villages, revived five rivers which had gone dry, increased farm productivity by 20 to 80 per cent, increased forest cover by 33 per cent and also brought back wildlife to the area (antelopes and leopards).

(b) The other model is of Jordan where an experiment in reviving traditional land management system, called ‘Hima’, which consisted of setting land aside to allow for the land to naturally regenerate itself. This led to increase in economic growth through cultivation of indigenous plants of value and conservation of natural resources in the Zarqa River basin. It has now become Jordan’s national policy. Specific Sectoral Interventions for Conservation of water.

51. Agriculture. Considering serious depletion of groundwater levels below critical levels eg in Punjab and Haryana with average rainfall of around 600mm due to extensive water usage in Paddy cultivation, in Maharashtra for sugar cultivation which consumes 60% of the states water resources and in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu where there is need to synchronize crop alignment with water availability. Haryana is attempting to substitute paddy cultivation with maize which also has potential for ethanol production. For these types of crop diversifications to succeed, long term multiple approaches have to be adopted by incentivizing the new crop adoption with attractive MSP, special benefits through Direct Income Benefit transfer schemes to cover losses for the transitory intercrop switch over period, and also provide special insurance cover for loss in production levels etc. There is need for an extensive support by Krishi Vigyan Kendras and handholding by State Govts for seed supply and special fertilizer inputs. Govt to have a differential MSP pricing concept for lesser MSP for crops being replaced & more for crops being substituted.

52. Simultaneously, there is need to intensify the production of paddy, sugar cane etc in the Eastern sector, which has good rainfall. Warehousing infra be strengthened in these areas. For Sugar cane production, a cooperative movement to support small farmers should be encouraged. It will not be out of context to mention that sugar production in Bihar has gradually dwindled with the closing of sugar factories. 53. Regarding Rainfed, semi dryland areas, micro-irrigation (drip/water sprinkler) has to be supported as water savings to the extent of 30% to 50% have been achieved by these practices. 52% of rain-fed areas do not have dependable source of irrigation From present annual level of micro-irrigation adoption rate at 6 lakh ha per year, there is need to increase acreage progressively to 1.2 million ha & ultimately to 5 million ha annually. Investments may be large but gains will be substantial to both India’s water & food security. A massive Programme needs to be planned as a joint Centre-States initiative. Micro irrigational models through PPP models should also be encouraged, particularly to support small farmers. MSP prices for millet & coarse grains which are the main produce of these areas should be increased to sustain the farmers. Use of coarse grains in Indian food mix must be popularized regarding their health benefits and included in school Mid Day Meals programmes as a nutritional supplement. Food Research Institute (CSIR) can also assist in this regard.

54. There is an imperative need to increase carbon percentage in soil by use of organic manure, Vermicompost etc enabling the soil to hold moisture. Biomass burning must be banned and incentives given to plough back residue to enrich the soil. There is a need to practice watershed management in agricultural practices. Isha Foundation is trying agroforestry along Cauvery to improve precipitation and ensure better water conservation.

55. Maharashtra State has made a good beginning by promoting drip irrigation in sugar cane areas though problems of none availability of power acts as a deterrent. Haryana State is incentivizing farmers to progressively switch over to maize from paddy in view of serious depletion of groundwater levels. With regard to paddy cultivation in irrigated areas, there is considerable scope for controlling inundation of land with water during crop growth. It is seen from reports of the International Council for Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) that China has been able to reduce water requirements by 20% with a yield increase of 11%. As agriculture consumes more than 80% of the country’s water requirements with paddy accounting half of this, a national mission will need to be launched for the conservation of water in agriculture. The Agricultural budget needs a substantial increase from the present level of Rs 3,500 Crores to cover above and support associated R&D activities/ extension works. Ensuring access to water should be given thrust in policymaking. There is need to progressively wean away farmers from the practice of flooding fields from irrigation supplies. R&D spending which is more focused on Irrigated areas should give adequate attention to rain-fed & dry land areas as well.

56. Urban Areas. Water harvesting needs to be encouraged in a big way, particularly in residential areas. Except for some efforts in watercrisis cities like Chennai and Bengaluru, the response is generally low. There is a dire need for wastewater policy both for urban and rural areas that promotes water use efficiency, recycling and reuse, while also ensuring financial viability and sustainability of water utilities. A major initiative for water treatment and use of recycled water must be launched.

57. Industry. Environmental norms for effluents should be progressively tightened. Industry also needs to internalize environmental commitment and practice self-regulation. National Water Mission (NWM) Ministry of Jalshakti

58. Background and Objectives of NWM

(a) National Water Mission is part of 8 missions launched as part of National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) released in 2008 to identify measures that promote development objectives while also yielding co-benefits for addressing climate change effectively.

(b) The specific objective is “Conservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring its more equitable distribution both across and within States through integrated water resources development and management”.

59. Goals of NWM

(a) Comprehensive water 

data base in public domain and assessment of impact of climate change on water resources.

(b) Promotion of Citizen and State action for water conservation, augmentation and preservation, management through Panchayati Raj Institutions, Resident Welfare Associations in urban areas in corporations and with NGOs in conservation/ recycling of water.

(c) Focused attention be given to vulnerable areas including overexploited areas including ground water recharging in stressed areas, respecting traditional water practices conservation of wet land, addressing qualities in water for drinking etc.

(d) Increasing water use efficiency by 20% including water audits, towards increased efficiency in irrigation practices and urban water consumptions, development of efficient water fittings and equipment and practice of the Mantra “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”, especially in urban and industrial systems.

(e) Promotion of basin level integrated water resources management including issuing guidelines for water use in different sectors and examining sharing/ diversion of surplus flood waters.

60. State Specific Action Plan (SSAP). States have been advised to prepare Specific Action Plan for achieving the above goals and preparation of water budget etc. The North-Eastern Research Institute of Water and Land Management (NERIWALM), Tezpur, Ganga Rejuvenation Project will assist 19 states and National Institute of Hydrology will assist balance 17 states including UT. 5 States namely Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal have completed their studies.

61. New Initiatives and Activities of NWM.

(a) Intensive Programme for Ground Water Recharge for Over Exploited and Critical Areas. All 18 States/UTs having over exploited blocks have been requested to prepare State wise implementation plans for rain water harvesting and artificial recharge of ground water based on the Master Plan of CGWB for both rural and urban areas.

(b) Asian Development Bank has undertaken “Operational Research” to support “Mainstreaming of Integrated Flood Management” under Climate Change in flood prone areas of Burhi-Gandak in Bihar and Bramhani-Baitarni in Odisha river basins.

(c) To promote water Purification and Desalination, installation of desalination plants based on the innovative technology developed by CSIR-Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute Gujarat, is underway in the Coastal States of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh where ground water has become brackish/saline due to over-exploitation. NWM is also proposing to setup a “National Bureau of Water Use Efficiency (NBWUE)” for promotion, regulation and control efficient use of water in irrigation, industrial and domestic sectors.

62. ‘Sahi-Fasal’ Initiative.

(a) Cross country comparison of water use efficiency shows that India uses 2-3 times excess water to produce one unit of major food crops as compared to other major agricultural countries like China, Brazil and the USA. The Economic Survey 2015-16 observed that India largely uses the technique of flood irrigation which results in huge wastage of water. This will lead to a challenging situation of “how to grow more agri-produce with less water on a sustainable basis”. Reforms must start from water use in agriculture with raising agricultural productivity per hectare of land rather than per cubic meter of water supplied and/or consumed. Crop production should be aligned according to natural water resource endowment and agro-climatic conditions of state. Paddy in Punjab and sugarcane in Maharashtra are not in line with the climatic and hydrogeological pattern ofthese states.

(b) Climate change is also adversely affecting agriculture, making it prone to droughts, floods, etc. the frequency and intensity of which is likely to increase in the future. There is a need to utilize scarce water resources in the best possible manner. Government is concerned with the issue and has prioritized agriculture water use through schemes like “Har Khet ko Pani– Water for every field” and “per drop more crop”. NWM’s objective is “conservation of water, minimizing wastage and ensuring its more equitable distribution both across and within States through integrated water resources development and management”.

63. “Sahi-Fasal”. A project launched by NWM is a step to encourage Indian agriculture to promote crops which use less water but more efficiently have high nutritional quality and are economically remunerative for farmers, and based on a holistic and integrated strategy. Creating awareness among farmers on appropriate crops, micro–irrigation, soilmoisture conversation etc; weaning them away from water intensivecrops like paddy, sugar cane, etc to crops like corn, maize etc which require less water; effective pricing of inputs (water and electricity); protection of environment and assisting policy makers to improve procurement policies, creating appropriate storage facilities and markets etcThese are the key elements of “Sahi-Fasal”. The slogan "नहीं है जल तो नहीं फसल।  कम जल ले, वो 'सही फसल'।" aptly conveys the message of the intiative. 

64. (a) Considering the comprehensive approach planned in NWM, towards “Conservation and Management of Water” it is felt that in the studies ordered through states in conservation measures in different sectors these will be useful by associating Ministry of Agriculture, ICAR and Krishi Vigyan Kendras during the preliminary stages itself with regard to agricultural interventions. Similarly, with regard to Industry, besides Ministry of Industry & Ministry of Environment, there is need to have consultations with industry bodies/ sectoral industries etc regarding water efficient technologies, cost implication etc. On the domestic sector involvement of Ministry of Urban Development is necessary on rain harvesting and sewage water treatment initiatives.

(b) It is important that funding for NWM is progressively increased as some pilot projects will also have to be taken up with the studies to asses cost benefit analysis etc.

(c) The subject of conservation of water addressing “demand side issues” and building storage capacity (small, medium and large dams), rehabilitation of existing water infrastructure in the country to address “supply side issues” will need to monitored periodically by a committee of Cabinet Ministersand the subject also coordinated through interstate Council.


Measures Recommended for a



India has a 7500 km long coastline, about 1200 islands and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) spread over 2.2 million square km. It has ports and industrial hubs along the coast. 90 percent of India's trade (by volume) is by sea.

The 1993 Mumbai blasts pointed to vulnerability along India's coastline and the terrorist attack of 26 Nov 2011, revealed glaring weakness in the Coastal Security. Securing India's coastline and the EEZ involves multifarious agencies such as shipping, fisheries, customs, off share exploration / production agencies, tourism, scientific community, port authorities, coastal state/UT government and the state / UT local police. Coordination among them is a Herculean task. Coastal State / UT governments have been reluctant partners in overall coastal schemes.

Coastal Security Threat Perception

Coastal security implies protection of assets and infrastructure along the coast, preventing illegal exploitation of marine and mineral resources within the EEZ, freedom of navigation along the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) for merchant fleets and facilitating the nation's economy, including the “blue economy,” to grow.

Coastal Security aims to achieve the following :

  • By continuous surveillance, monitor all activities in India's territorial waters, contiguous seas and EEZ
  • Counter infiltration attempts and attacks from state and non-state actors.
  • Prevent illegal economic exploitation of marine and mineral resources from the sea.
  • Prevent smuggling of arms, explosives, drugs and other contraband material.
  • Counter acts of piracy, hijacking and criminal acts.
  • Act against the presence of unseaworthy vessels.

Setting up a Robust Coastal Security Network

Coastal security should be tiered in nature, with responsibility for each tier be allotted to a force which has the wherewithal and training for its task. During hot pursuit, the tier system may not be considered sacrosanct. There should be seamless flow of intelligence, with each tier having built-in capability to react first in its area of responsibility.

There is a requirement of a dedicated central force for coastal security under the Ministry of Home Affairs. There must be synergy between all agencies (Coastal Security Force, Coast Guard and Navy) which will be effected through periodic meeting and regular cross-training / exercises.

Marine Police

Till 26/11, Coastal States / UTs did not have any element of the local police looking the coastal waters. After 26/11 they were instructed to raise a Marine Police wing to patrol coastal seas upto 5km. However, the States/ UTs resorted to ad hoc measures, leading to the creation of a force incapable of carrying out its tasks. Coastal Police Stations are understaffed and operations suffer due to lack of suitable manpower. Poor training and lack of incentives to cover high risk inherent in such operations have largely been responsible for the inefficient setup. The setting up of the National Academy on Coastal Policing at Okha in District Dwarka, Gujarat is a commendable start. It is being piloted by the Bureau of Police Research and Development, with a core team from the Indian Navy, Coast Guard and BSF. The following additional measures need to be adopted to address the shortcomings :
  • Include personnel from the fishing community who are adept at operating in differing sea conditions. Lack of educational qualification should not be a barrier for recruitment.
  • The present training of marine policemen, conducted by the Coast Guard, is barely of four weeks duration, whereas recruits selected to join the Indian Navy or Coast Guard undergo nearly two and half years training. Marine police should be imparted training for one year at least to enable them to operate efficiently on the seas. A Central Coastal Force training institute should be set up for training personnel selected for Marine Police forces. This institute may also be made responsible for upgradation training and specialised training.
  • Due to the ad hoc measures adopted to equip the Marine police, boats purchased are lying unused due to the lack of training in handling and maintenance issues. Training and long-term maintenance should be built into contracts with the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM).
  • Jetties are required to be constructed for Marine Police craft. These should be constructed at the earliest or regular berthing space taken on long term lease from ports. Presently, the Marine Police craft are encroaching on the Fisheries Department Jetties.

Exploiting the Human Resource Capital of the Coastal Community

Interaction of the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Police with the coastal community should institutionalised. Intelligence Bureau, Customs and Enforcement Directorate should also be incorporated in such interactions.

Schools for the children from the fishing community, on lines of Sainik Schools should be set up to draw young sailors for the Coast Guard, Marine Police and similar agencies.

 Registration of Sea Going Vessels

At present registration of sea going vessels above 20 meters in length is compulsory. However registration is not mandatory for vessels below 20 meters (a large number). It is also not compulsory for these vessels to have GPS and VHF / HF communication sets on board. The following should be made compulsory for them :

  • It should be mandatory for all types of vessels going to sea or operating in backwaters/ rivers/lakes, irrespective of size, to have compulsory registration (as is the case with vehicles on land) with the port / coastal authorities. This will enable identification of owners, also.
  • Every sea going vessel should be equipped with VHF / HF communication equipment and GPS compatible identification.
  • Post 26/11, while initiatives were taken up to issue personal identity cards to coastal sea going communities, even now boats are often manned by personnel who lack identification/ verification of antecedents, hailing from different parts of the country. Crew manning sea going vessels should be in possession of suitable identity cards, post police verification. Maintaining record of the crew should also be mandatory.

Regulating Landing Points

The coastline has numerous landing points suitable for small vessels. Illegal activities like transfer of personnel or material can easily take place from these as it is difficult to maintain fool proof surveillance or security cover. State Governments need to identify and promulgate landing points and monitor movement at these. This would enable concerned agencies to be warned of undesirable activities taking place at unauthorised points, particularly if coastal communities are also involved. Coastal Police Stations should be given adequate legal powers and capabilities to check all landing points under their beat.
Closer interaction with coastal communities, including fisherman would make them feel as a part of the overall security setup. They need to be apprised that restrictions placed on their normal activities by the Police, Coast Guard or Navy are to protect them. Own agencies and establishments too must take care to keep the interest of the coastal communities in mind when placing curbs and restrictions.

Response Mechanism

Notwithstanding relations with neighbours, an assertive posture is necessary for operations on the high seas. On receipt of actionable intelligence, the first respondent should be the one nearest to the point where hostile / illegal activity is reported to be taking place. The Naval ship / Coast Guard vessels can build up to augment the forces. Helicopters aboard naval ships and ready availability of MARCOS should facilitate early response. Technological up-gradation and augmenting monitoring and surveillance capability must continue.

Maritime Domain Awareness

India has undertaken to share information on the seas with its neighbours, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. All relevant information would ultimately be fed to the International Fusion Centre in Gurugram. Cooperation from the neighbours would contribute immensely to aid Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). However, there is need to have a centralised system to collate information from all sources to include, HUMINT, Coastal surveillance radar systems Satellite imagery and other electronic sensors and electro optic sensors that are likely to be deployed, as presently there is no institutional architecture to collate all this information into intelligence and disseminate it in real time. For this the structure and functioning of the Joint Operations Centre's set up need to be strengthened.

Equipment Procurement

To standardize the profile of seagoing vessels and craft needed by the Marine Police, Customs and other agencies as also communication equipment, the qualitative requirement for them should be issued by one agency only, preferably the Navy in conjunction with Coast Guard.

The vessels being procured should include craft that can ply in shallow waters like airboats and Air Cushion Vehicles. The life cycle maintenance, provision of spares and tying up with OEM's for in-situ maintenance to reduce down time of any piece of equipment should also be contracted simultaneously.

Port Security

India has 16 major and 227 minor ports. Major ports have been assigned CISF security. 64 minor ports handle export-import cargo, 54 of which are International Ship and Port Facility Code (ISPS) compliant, while 10 are not. 163 ports lack requisite security. Even six years after sanction two major ports still do not have radiation detection equipment. 64 ports handling export-import cargo have no radiation detection equipment.

The provision of security to minor ports is the responsibility of the Coastal State Governments through their State Maritime Boards. The channel between anchorage (where a ship is anchored) to the port is about one to two kilometres. This area is very vulnerable to crime.

Port congestion, poor management and lack of facilities for dredging, mechanization and storage, effect operations to provide security and optimise capacity of ports. The new Maritime Agenda aims to quadruple cargo throughput by 2020, but most Indian ports are already operating at close to 100% capacity and any enhancement will require massive expansion programmes. Considerable planning and investment is required to bring Indian ports to international standards. In addition, hinterland connectivity in terms of efficient railroad and fast highway connections also need to be upgraded along with development of ports. Port security will be a vital factor in the mission to increase ports enhanced capacities.

Facilitating a Blue Economy

The livelihood of the population along the coast is linked to fishing. The Indian Fisheries Act has been in operation since 1897. Based on it coastal States/UTs have drafted their legislation. Fishing by non-mechanised and mechanised vessels has been laid down by each state/UT separately. However, uniform closure for 47 days is dictated for the East and West coasts during different periods by the Central government. One of the factors that is affecting the catch of the fishermen using non-mechanised craft is allowing industrial pollutants to flow into the sea. This has adversely affected marine life. Intervention by the Centre and National Green Tribunal is strongly recommended.

Nations that have a large community dependent on the sea for their livelihood have undertaken measures to augment the catches of fishing vessels and the variety of the catch. Fish Aggregating Devices tethered to the seabed are put up to attract fish and augment the catch of fishing vessels. Since such devices cannot be deployed by individual fishermen or groups of fishermen these should be undertaken by the State / UT governments or the Central Government.

Central Coastal Security Force

Coastal Security hinges on pro-active participation of State / UT Governments. This is often lacking. Though there are a number of Central Government Ministries and departments involved, but there is no single agency having overall authority. Unlike the deployment of BSF and ITBP along India's land borders which are under the Ministry of Home Affairs and managed by the Department of Border Management in the same Ministry, Coastal security is primarily the responsibility of Indian Navy and Coast Guard which is under the Ministry of Defence. This by itself is a major functional anomaly. Even the Marine Police is not under the Home Ministry being the local Police of the State/UT and as by the fact that local policing is a State subject.

Considering the many issues involved and lack of State / UT focus on this aspect of national security, there is a need to create a Coastal Security Force on the lines of the BSF with similar legal jurisdiction along the coast in a swathe five km into the sea from the base line and five km inland too, a total band of 10 km including land and sea. Also, since this zone is prone to crime which is the responsibility of the local police, therefore the local police should have Police Stations adjacent to the Coastal Security Force Posts to assist in curbing criminal activity and its investigations.


India has continued to be a target of terrorist attacks for over three decades. Coastal security is axiomatic to India's security and development goals. The tiered concept of security provided by the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Police incorporating the Customs, Ports authority and Fisheries department is fundamentally sound. Round the clock vigil through assertive posture and deployment and optimized response capability should be the order of the day. While the Navy is anointed the lead authority for coastal security, the desired level of synergy between all ministries, departments and agencies continues to be lacking.

Designating landing points and monitoring these needs to commence at the earliest. Similarly, registration of all seagoing vessels of all sizes should also be expeditiously undertaken. Ownership of fishing vessels and verification of the crew also needs to be undertaken on a war footing. To implement these provisions for the states the Marine Police needs to be strengthened, suitably manned, equipped and very well trained.

Guarding the coast should be viewed the same as guarding the land borders of the country. Multiple agencies under no central controlling authority is the bête noire for accountability. Creating a Central Coastal Security Force like the BSF is the need of the hour, along with this Central Training Institute for training and specialisation should also be set up.