New Delhi: Under pressure from states, the Centre has put out a fresh draft of the National Water Policy that stresses on the need to evolve a broad over-arching national legal framework on water and has called it an "umbrella statement" of general principles.
The third draft is based on the recommendations made by the National Water Board which met after the document was placed before the National Water Council which failed to a take a call on the policy.
The first draft was released in January and the second in May.
Following protests by states in the meeting of the National Water Council recently on the issue of an over-arching legal framework, the Ministry clarified that it is nothing but an "umbrella statement" of general principles governing the exercise of legislative or executive powers by the Centre, states and local governing bodies.
"Even while it is recognised that states have the right to frame suitable policies, laws and regulations on water, there is a felt need to evolve a broad over-arching national legal framework of general principles on water to lead the way for essential legislation on water governance in every state of the Union and devolution of necessary authority to the lower tiers of government to deal with the local water situation," says the latest draft.
It said such a framework law must recognise water not only as a scarce resource but also as a sustainer of life and ecology.
"Therefore, water needs to be managed as a community resource held by the state under public trust doctrine to achieve food security, livelihood, and equitable and sustainable development for all...," it states.