A Parliamentary panel looking into the issue of depleting ground water levels has urged the Centre to build national consensus on putting water in either the Union List or Concurrent List of Constitution so that a comprehensive plan can be prepared for water conservation.
The views of the panel have the support of the ministry of water resources.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources in its latest report on Augmentation of Depleted Ground Water Level presented in both Houses of Parliament this week has quoted an unnamed representative of the ministry as saying that "It (water) should be brought under the Union List; if not in the Union List, at least in the Concurrent List".
The ministry official was asked to comment on the "desirability" of effecting constitutional amendment with regard to water which figures in the State List (entry 17), Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
"The Committee was informed by the ministry that states are having a lot of feuds on the issue of water. The ministry tries to resolve the disputes as per the existing mechanism, still are unable to resolve the disputes among the states," the report said.
In one of its recommendations, the Committee has made a strong pitch to evolve a consensus to put water in either the Union List or the Concurrent List.
"The Committee would urge the government to initiate steps... to strive to build a national consensus to bring water either in the Union List or the Concurrent List after due consultation with the state governments so that a comprehensive national plan of action is evolved for water conservation...
"The Committee recommend that the draft proposal in this regard may be initiated by the ministry expeditiously," the report said.
While water supplies, irrigation and canals, drainage and embankments and storage fall in the State List, issues like development of inter-state rivers come under the Union List.