NEW DELHI: Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was approved by the Union Cabinet on July 10. With the new amendment, the government aims to arbitrate disputes between states regarding the inter-state river water. Prakash Javadekar, Union Environment Minister, said, the bill sought to provide one tribunal to adjudicate on water disputes between states by doing away with the present nine. Different benches will be instituted under the proposed tribunal. The bill, seeking to update the Inter State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, was also introduced in 2017, but wasn’t approved back then. The highlight of the amendment was the introduction of a new provision which would see the formation of a single tribunal to look into an inter-state river dispute and settle it within 2 years.
The present institutional architecture has about 12 tribunals for the resolving of such disputes, which traditionally took long time.
The bill also proposes a Dispute Resolution Committee set up by the Central Government for amicably resolving inter-State water disputes within 18 months. Any dispute that cannot be settled by negotiations would be referred to the tribunal for its adjudication.