India is endowed with a rich and vast diversity of natural resources, water being one of them. Its development and management plays a vital role in agriculture production. Integrated water management is vital for poverty reduction, environmental sustenance and sustainable economic development. National Water Policy envisages that the water resources of the country should be developed and managed in an integrated manner.
The Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (Erstwhile Ministry of Water Resources) , Government of India is responsible for laying down policy guidelines and programmes for the development and regulation of country’s water resources. The Ministry has been allocated the following functions:-
- Overall planning, policy formulation, coordination and guidance in the water resources sector.
- Technical guidance, scrutiny, clearance and monitoring of the irrigation, flood control and multi-purpose projects (major/medium).
- General infrastructural, technical and research support for development.
- Providing special Central Financial Assistance for specific projects and assistance in obtaining External Finance from World Bank and other agencies.
- Overall policy formulation, planning and guidance in respect of Minor Irrigation and Command Area Development, administration and monitoring of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes and promotion of Participatory Irrigation Management.
- Overall planning for the development of Ground Water Resources, establishment of utilizable resources and formulation of policies for exploitation, overseeing of and support to State level activities in ground water development.
- Formulation of national water development perspective and the determination of the water balance of different basins/sub-basins for consideration of possibilities of inter-basin transfers.
- Coordination, mediation and facilitation in regard to the resolution of differences or disputes relating to Inter-State Rivers and in some instances overseeing of implementation of inter-state projects.
- Operation of the central network for flood forecasting and warning on inter-state rivers, provision of central assistance for some State Schemes in special cases and preparation of flood control master plans for rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra.
- Talks and negotiations with neighboring countries, with regard to river waters, water resources development projects and the operation of the Indus Water Treaty.
- Ensure effective abatement of pollution and rejuvenation of the river Ganga by adopting a river basin approach to promote inter-sectoral co-ordination for comprehensive planning and management.