Rivers: legal and institutional issues in India

Analysing the state of rivers in India in the context of legal and institutional issues has a huge canvas. The paper starts with the definition of a river. It then goes on to describe the existing legal and institutional measures that affect the state of rivers in India. There are a number of laws and related institutions (for example, Water Pollution Control Act, 1974 and the State and Central Pollution Control Boards existing since 1974) that have remained ineffective and problematic. There is not even one success story of a polluted stretch of river in India being cleaned up due to the efforts of the legal or institutional mechanism of the government. The few success stories, have come about though social and community efforts. The way the National Water Policy 2002 and the draft National Water Policy of 2012 treat the rivers and river basin related issues, it does not really help the current status or future of our rivers, particularly in the absence of necessary legal and institutional mechanisms to ensure implementation of river friendly aspects of the policy.

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