The Union budget of 2005-06 had given the impression that the United Progressive Alliance (upa) government had a plan to promote water conservation and management. With the 2006-07 budget round the corner, now is a good time to look at how serious was upa's water plan.
Last year's performance in the water sector was characterised by two features: reduced allocations and slow progress. Several ambitious upa schemes -- the national scheme for artificial recharge is a case in point -- are yet to take off, reduced to arcane acronyms.
Policy matters also gathered dust. With 2006-07 being the last financial year of 10th Five-Year Plan, the Union ministries of finance and water resources will need a magic wand to get anywhere close to meeting the goals laid down by the Planning Commission.
S V Suersh Babu and Ritu Tanwar got into India's water macro economics. Here, they consider some schemes and policies in detail. They came up with two neat categories: the ones that got underway and haven't yielded results; and the ones that haven't got off the block
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