Medha Patkar

Medha Patkar

New Delhi, January 17: Today Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee held pre-Budget consultations with the members of Civil Society Organisations. Nearly 30 presentations were made on different aspects of the social sectors. With respect to the Water Sector some brief interventions were made at the meeting by CSO members. Noted social activist Medha Patkar, National Convener, National Alliance of People’s Movements said, “it is internationally known and concluded by research that ground water and decentralised water harnessing and management gives best results through efficiency and need based distribution. However, India has continued to follow centralised (large dams and water projects), which is wasting financial resources and degrading catchments to land in the command. This should be given priority in the Budget allocation. Planning Commission should be reviewing post facto, projects and various schemes cleared by it for the purposes of power generation, irrigation and drinking water and make that as basis for further financial allocation in the water sector.” Rohini Nilekani, Chairperson and Founder of Arghyam said that right to water and sanitation is a key right and is central to realisation of the other rights. We are discussing today the National Food Security Bill but it will remain incomplete if Right to Water and Sanitation is not realised. Water is a key resource in ecology and economy, though renewable but it badly used and there is a need for harvesting it and conserving it. Some micro finance schemes have helped promote water conservation schemes and the next Budget should take note of those to promote it further. She further demanded that Ground Water Conservation Training Institutes be set up across the country to promote water conservation and harvesting and similarly the Budgetary allocations to this sector has to be increased. Mirai Chatterjee, Member, National Advisory Council and Director of Social Security at Self Employed Women’s Association while supporting the points made by Rohini Nilekani said that every home has a right to have a tap and toilet. This will go a long way in securing our human resource and ecological resource in future. Every year prior to the finalisation of the Union Budget Finance Minister holds consultations with the representatives of corporations and their bodies, Trade Unions, Farmers Organisations, CSOs and other sectoral representatives.
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