In July 2016, a high level committee constituted by the Narendra Modi government, chaired by the former Planning Commission member Mihir Shah, delivered a comprehensive report on improving water governance in India. Among other things, it called for a 21st century institutional architecture to meet the country’s increasingly serious water challenges.
One year on, the report’s many wide-ranging recommendations remain largely ignored, even as we now have a debate that’s centered around merging the Central Water Commission (CWC) and the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) under a National Water Commission. This, when the real issue highlighted by the committee was about both these organisations risking becoming bystanders to the goings-on in the Indian water scene. Merely merging the two will only yield a larger entity equally at the risk of marginalisation.