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Index to Assess & Improve Management of Water Resources

Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) Report prepared by NITI Aayog, keeping in view the criticality of water for life, has been released by Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources and Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, on June 14, 2018. According to the CWMI report, based primarily on data supplied by States, 70% of the water resources are identified as polluted. If the water accessible to millions is contaminated, the problem is infinitely worse than that of availability. CWMI report is a further step in the direction of an earlier report on “Healthy States, Progressive India” which covered the ranking of States/ UTs in various health parameters released by NITI Aayog in February 2018. India is already facing a severe water crisis as evident from the recent reports of an unprecedented water crisis in Shimla, where taps went dry this tourist season in summers. The main factor for reduced flow in streams in this hill town is believed to be the adverse climatic conditions. There is unplanned development and exploitation of water resources as well. Conditions are similar or even worse in other areas. As such urgent reforms are needed to deal with the acute water stress in most of India.

  • CWMI has been developed by NITI Aayog comprising 9 broad sectors with 28 different indicators covering various aspects of ground water, restoration of water bodies, irrigation, farm practices, drinking water, policy and governance.
  • CWMI is an important tool to assess and improve the performance of States/ Union Territories in efficient management of water resources.
  • This has been done through a first of its kind water data collection exercise in partnership with Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation and all the States/ Union Territories.
  • For the purposes of analysis, reporting states were divided into two special groups – ‘North Eastern and Himalayan states’ and ‘Other States’, to account for the different hydrological conditions across these groups.
  • The system of ratings for States is based on their performance in augmenting water resources and watersheds, investing in infrastructure, providing rural and urban drinking water, and encouraging efficient agricultural use.
  • The index would provide useful information for the States and also for the concerned Central Ministries/Departments enabling them to formulate and implement suitable strategies for better management of water resources.
  • Simultaneously a web portal on the subject has also been launched.

CWMI report released ranks Gujarat as number one in the reference year 2016-17, followed by Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.  In North Eastern and Himalayan States, Tripura has been adjudged number 1 in 2016-17 followed by Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam.  In terms of incremental change in index over 2015-16 level, Rajasthan holds number one position in general States and Tripura ranks at first position amongst North Eastern and Himalayan States.  NITI Aayog proposes to publish these ranks on an annual basis in future.

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