Committee for Water Management in the North-East.


Why in news?

With the aim of helping India’s flood-ravaged north-east, the government has set up a high-level committee to evolve a strategy for management of the region’s water resources.

Build Ur Basics


  • The committee will be headed by Rajiv Kumar, vice-chairman of NITI Aayog, the federal policy think tank.
  • It will include secretaries from the ministries of DoNER ( Development of North-East Region), power, water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation, National Disaster Management Authority, departments of border management and space and the chief secretaries of all the eight states of the region.


With the Ministry of development of north-eastern region (DoNER) serving as the coordinating point, the committee will submit its report as well as a plan of action by June next year.

Analysis (for Mains)


The committee’s formation comes against the backdrop of floods that have brought life to a standstill in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. According to data released by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, 2017 has been the worst of the last four years in terms of floods.


The committee will facilitate optimising benefits of appropriate water management in the form of hydro-electric power, agriculture, bio-diversity conservation, reduced flood damage erosion, inland water transport, forestry, fishery and eco-tourism.

With the Ministry of development of north-eastern region (DoNER) serving as the coordinating point, the committee will submit its report as well as a plan of action by June next year. This will involve dovetailing Central and State government schemes across departments and autonomous bodies.

The committee’s terms of reference also include identification of gaps in the existing mechanisms and arrangements for water resource management, and suggesting policy interventions.

OPTIMUM MANAGEMENT OF WATER RESOURCES – Responsibility of various departments the optimum management of water resources is a cross-cutting task which requires multi-sectoral interventions and concerted strategy, including management of catchment areas in upper reaches involving concerned central ministries and state governments.


The Brahmaputra, a trans-boundary river and among the mightiest in Asia, is unstable in its entire stretch in Assam except for a few places. India and China have joined issue over the diversion of the Brahmaputra river, which originates in Tibet.

Why such diversion?

The Brahmaputra and Barak river systems, which account for one-third of India’s run-off, are highly prone to floods. Brahmaputra is one of the largest river systems in the world and causes considerable distress and costs to the region through frequent flooding and erosion.

India has been pushing to establish prior user rights on rivers that originate in China in an effort to fast-track projects in the northeast.

According to the United Nations, the cross-border annual aggregate flow of the Brahmaputra river system is 165.4bcm (billion cubic metres), which is greater than the combined trans-boundary flow of the three key rivers—Mekong, Salween and Irrawady—that run from the Tibetan plateau to South-East Asia.


India initiated an action plan to accelerate hydroelectric projects in Arunachal Pradesh, a key element of a multi-pronged strategy 2013 in. This also involves prioritizing the construction of storage projects as a fallback option.


As part of the strategy that is also being viewed as an attempt to contain China, an India-Japan Coordination Forum for Development of North East has been set up to focus on strategic projects such as connectivity and road network development, electricity and disaster management.


This move of appointing a high level committee for the over-flowing rivers in the North East would also bring in new solutions once it commences its function to the peninsular India that faces water problems (either drought or floods).

Question based on the Topic

Suggest the ways the government can take to solve the water as a crisis in the nation with special emphasis on North East.

SOURCE – PIB (05/10/2017)







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