The proposed draft National Water Framework Bill promises to give every person the right to a minimum amount of “safe water”, while making the state “obliged” to “protect” and conserve water.
- The law is prepared by the Water Resources Ministry. The draft law is being proposed as a model legislation that can be adopted by states, since water is in the jurisdiction of the state governments.
- The draft National Water Framework Bill says every person would be entitled to “water for life” that shall not be denied to anyone on the ground of inability to pay.
- The Bill defines this “water for life” as that basic requirement that is necessary for the “fundamental right of life of each human being, including drinking, cooking, bathing, sanitation, personal hygiene and related personal and domestic uses”. This would also include the additional requirement for women “for their special needs” and the water required by domestic livestock.
- This minimum water requirement would be determined by the “appropriate” governments from time to time.
There is a need for a broad national consensus on issues related to water. Divergences of policies on water are inevitable and acceptable at the level of states, but these need to be within reasonable limits set by this national consensus.