Dam planning under the spotlight: a guide to dam sanctioning in India

Large dams on India’s major rivers are perceived as drivers of growth to meet the soaring demand for water and energy. Hydropower now plays a central role in the country’s efforts to boost electricity generation. Northeast India is slated to become the future powerhouse of the country. This guide by International Rivers explains the sanctioning of dams in India. The country is said to rank fourth in the world in terms of its number of dams and the pace of building new ones. Hydropower is now increasingly in focus in India, overtaking thermal power plants in the development agenda. The Indian government introduced a national policy on hydropower development in 1998, which prioritises hydropower with emphasis on unharnessed potential, especially in the Northeast region. However, the tragic human and environmental impacts of such development are largely ignored.