Banking on water

The Union government earmarks Rs 500 crore for augmentation of traditional water sources

Published: Wednesday 15 November 2000

the eleventh finance commission has earmarked Rs 500 crore for the augmentation of traditional water sources. The commission says: "The recent drought in some of the states and severe water scarcity in many others has drawn our attention to need for protection and augmentation of traditional water sources that have been the mainstay of water supply for the daily household needs of the people, particularly in the rural areas, besides for the cattle."

The report adds that "most of such water sources are revenue tanks and ponds that have gradually silted up. These need to be rejuvenated and augmented in a systematic way." When asked whether the money was sanctioned after sustained pressure from the civil society, A M Khusro, chairperson of the commission, said: "I would not say we were under any pressure to pay the money. We gave the money because the states wanted it for augmenting their traditional water sources."

It is a single grant valid for five years (2000-2005). "This fund perhaps is a result of the relentless lobbying in public space for water management by non-governmental organisations," says R Gopalakrishnan, secretary to Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

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