Study About the Indus Water Treaty and Central Water Commission

While Indus Waters Treaty features in the news whenever Indo-Pak relations are discussed, Important government bodies and agencies like Central Water Commission or CWC are a potential source of questions in the UPSC exam. Therefore, UPSC aspirants must be thorough with both of these important topics.

On that note, let’s take a comprehensive overview of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) and the Central Water Commission (CWC).

Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)

Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian prime minister at the time, and Ayub Khan, the president of Pakistan at the time, both signed the Indus Water Treaty (IWT). The negotiations for the agreement lasted nine years and were mediated by the World Bank (then known as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development).

The Indus River has been a point of dispute between the four nations that it passes through, namely India, Pakistan, China, and Afghanistan, ever since the partition of India in 1947. Tibet is the river’s source country.

In 1948, India temporarily cut off Pakistan’s access to water, but once the war ended, it was reopened. Pakistan reported the incident to the UN in 1951 and accused India of interrupting the water supply to numerous Pakistani areas.

This agreement was developed by the World Bank in 1954 based on suggestions from the UN. Finally, on September 19, 1960, it was signed.

Indus Waters Treaty – Provisions in Brief

The terms of the agreement specify how the River Indus and its five tributaries would be shared.

  • The three eastern rivers that India now controls are:
  • Ravi
  • Beas
  • Sutlej
  • Up until the occurrence of any undesirable condition, India shall have unlimited access to all of the waters of the Eastern Rivers.
  • The three western rivers that Pakistan now controls are:
  • Indus
  • Chenab
  • Jhelum
  • The UN established the Permanent Indus Commission, which has a system for arbitration to settle disputes peacefully, to handle any potential water-sharing concerns.
  • The pact permits India to use the water from the western rivers for storage, agriculture, and the production of electricity, among other domestic, non-consumptive requirements.
  • According to the agreement, Pakistan receives 80% of the water from the Indus River System while India receives 20%.
  • Each nation (India/Pakistan) will take all reasonable precautions to prevent any material harm to the other nation when implementing any scheme for flood protection or flood control.

Central Water Commission (CWC)

The Ministry of Jal Shakti of the Indian government houses the Central Water Commission (CWC), a technical organisation. They are charged with the duties of advising different state governments on matters pertaining to water bodies and coordinating various government programmes for the preservation, management, and utilisation of water resources.

Central Water Commission – Overview

  • The Central Waterways, Irrigation and Navigation Commission, or CWINC, was the previous name of CWC.
  • On the recommendation of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council and a labour activist, it was founded by the government in 1945.
  • The founding of CWINC is credited to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, whose competent leadership the previous Labour Department relied on to create the Commission. In addition to bringing up the idea and making the case for the need for such a technical body at the Centre, he also outlined its goals, structure, and program. The Department worked with consulting irrigation engineer Rai Bahadur A.N. Khosla to draught the final proposal for the creation of CWINC.
  • The Chairman of the CWC serves as the Government of India’s Ex-Officio Secretary. Dr. Khosla was then named the CWINC’s founder and chairman.
  • Currently, the organisation works as a department inside the Department of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation of the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • The commission’s work is split up into three divisions: designs and research (D&R), river management (RM), and water planning and projects (WP&P).

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