In pursuit of cooperative and competitive federalism, NITI Aayog has been laying emphasis on developing indicators on various social sectors. In February 2018, NITI Aayog had released a report on “The Healthy States, Progressive India” which covered the ranking of States/ UTs in various health parameters. As a step further in direction and keeping in view the criticality of water for life, NITI Aayog has prepared a report on Composite Water Management Index (CWMI).
The Composite Water Management Index report is a step in a direction that aims to create awareness among people and governments about the realities of the water crisis in the country.
CWMI aims to enable effective water management in Indian states in the face of this growing crisis.
The index would provide useful information for the states and concerned Central ministries and departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.
NITI Aayog has ranked all states in the index on the composite water management, comprising 9 broad sectors with 28 different indicators covering various aspects of groundwater, restoration of water bodies, irrigation, farm practices, drinking water, policy, and governance.
Best and worst performers:
The report ranks Gujarat at the top in managing its water resources in the reference year (2016-17) followed by Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra.
The worst states include Jharkhand, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Among North Eastern and Himalayan states, Tripura has been adjudged number one in 2016-17 followed by Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Assam.
In terms of incremental change in the index (over 2015-16 level), Rajasthan holds number one position in general states and Tripura ranks at first position amongst Northeastern and Himalayan states.
India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history and millions of lives and livelihoods are under threat. Currently, 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about 200,000 thousand people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water.
The crisis is going to get worse and by 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual 6% loss in the country’s GDP.
Water scarcity is one of the biggest problems the country is facing today and that more than the scarcity of water, it is an issue of management of water resources.
Water management is often currently viewed as a zero-sum game by states due to limited frameworks for inter-state and national management. However, Centre-state and inter-state cooperation can help address the issue.
There is a need to reward those states which are doing well in managing their water resources and also to bring in the public domain the names of those states which are not managing their resources properly.