PIC’s interactions with Planning Commission, Government of India have been consistent and instrumental in shaping dialogues. Dr. Mihir Shah, Member, Planning Commission, Government of India was invited to deliver a lecture on the paradigm shifts in water management in the upcoming 12th Five Year Plan of the Planning Commission, India.
India faces a major crisis of water as we move into the 21st century. The demands of a rapidly industrialising economy and urbanising society come at a time when the potential of augmenting supply is limited. As a vital natural resource, water is a social issue and needs to be looked into with a more focused approach. Dr. Shah, who was introduced by Dr. Vijay Kelkar briefed the audience about Planning Commission’s upcoming twelfth plan which proposes a fundamental change in the principles, approach and strategies of water management in India. This paradigm shift is the outcome of a new and inclusive process of plan formulation which saw the coming together of practitioners and professionals from government, academia, industry and civil society to draft the Plan.
In his engaging address, Dr. Shah highlighted the 10 most important elements in the upcoming 12th five year Plan, including path-breaking changes in the irrigation sector, ground water mapping and governance of water.
Dr. Shah also took the opportunity to express his concern over issue of industrial water usage. According to him, 80 percent of India’s industries use fresh water and there is no mechanism to count the water foot print of the industry. As a solution to this challenge, ‘’The 12th Five year plan’’, he said,’’ will make water audit compulsory in the industry’’.
In the spirit of inclusiveness, the lecture was open for all and was attended by a broad group of students from Pune University, representatives of NGOs, social sector experts, bureaucrats and a large number of PIC trustees and members.