Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Particulars of the draft Bill
Mains level: The newscard talks about addressing the issue of Dam safety and unresolved points of issues between the states which share dam territory.
- There are over 5200 large dams in India and about 450 are under construction. Plus there are thousands of medium and small dams.
- Due to lack of legal and institutional architecture for dam safety in India, dam safety is an issue of concern
- Unsafe dams are a hazard and dam break may cause disasters, leading to huge loss of life and property.
- The draft bill seeks to address all issues concerning dam safety including regular inspection of dams, Emergency Action Plan, comprehensive dam safety review, adequate repair and maintenance funds for dam safety, Instrumentation and Safety Manuals.
- It will help all the States and UTs to adopt uniform dam safety procedures which shall ensure safety of dams and safeguard benefits from such dams.
- This shall also help in safeguarding human life, livestock and property.
- A case in point is the Mullaperiyar dam in Kerala, which is a perennial flashpoint between the State and neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
- The Chennai floods of 2015 due to unusually heavy rain were thought to have been compounded by an unprecedented release of water from the Chembarambakkam dam into the Adyar.
- The Bill provides for constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety which shall evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations as may be required for the purpose.
- This provides for the establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country.
- The Bill also provides for constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by State Government.
National Dam Safety Authority
- It shall maintain liaison with the State Dam Safety Organisations (SDSO) and the owners of dams for standardization of dam safety-related data and practices;
- It shall provide the technical and managerial assistance to the States and SDSO
- It shall maintain a national level database of all dams in the country and the records of major dam failures;
- It shall examine the cause of any major dam failure;
- It shall accord recognition or accreditations to the organizations that can be entrusted with the works of investigation, design or construction of new dams;
- It will also look into unresolved points of issue between two states
State Committee on Dam Safety
- It will ensure proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in that State and ensure their safe functioning.
- It further provides that every State shall establish a “State Dam Safety Organisation“, which will be manned by officers from the field dam safety preferably from the areas of dam-designs, hydro-mechanical engineering, hydrology, geotechnical investigation, instrumentation and dam-rehabilitation.