# UPSC 2017: Best of PIB March 14

Inter-state River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017
• The Inter-state river water disputes are on the rise on account of increase in water demands by the States. The Inter State Water Dispute Act, 1956 provides the legal framework to address these disputes.
• The ISWD, suffers from many drawbacks such as setting up of a separate Tribunal for each of the dispute.
• So far, only three tribunals (out of eight Tribunals) have given awards accepted by the States, while Tribunals like Cauvery and Ravi Beas have been in existence for over 26 and 30 years respectively without any award
• Such delays are on account of no time limit for adjudication by a Tribunal, no upper age limit for the Chairman or the Members, work getting stalled due to occurrence of any vacancy and no time limit for publishing the report of the Tribunal
• The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017 proposes to streamline the adjudication of inter-state river water disputes and make the present legal and institutional architecture robust

The provisions of the bill are

• Introduced in Lok Sabha today
• The Bill proposes a Single Standing Tribunal (with multiple benches) instead of existing multiple tribunals
• The tribunal shall consist of one Chairperson, one Vice-Chairperson and not more than six other Members.
• The term of office of the Chairperson is five year or till he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier,
• The term of office of Vice Chairperson and other member of tribunal shall be co-terminus with the adjudication of the water dispute
• The Bill also provides for the appointment of Assessors to provide technical support to the tribunal. They shall be appointed from amongst experts serving in the Central Water Engineering Service not below the rank of Chief Engineer
• The total time period for adjudication of dispute has been fixed at maximum of four and half years
• The decision of the Tribunal shall be final and binding with no requirement of publication in the official Gazette
• The Bill also proposes to introduce mechanism to resolve the dispute amicably by negotiations, through a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC). DRC will be established by the Central Government consisting of relevant experts, before such dispute is referred to the tribunal.
• The Bill provides for transparent data collection system at the national level for each river basin and for this purpose, an agency to maintain data-bank and information system shall be appointed or authorized by Central Government

FYI

• The related entry in the Constitution on water is Entry 17 in the State List, but it is subject to the provisions of Entry 56 in the Union List which enables the Union to deal with inter-State rivers if Parliament legislates for the same. Which means that if Parliament considers it “expedient in the public interest” that the “regulation and development” of an inter-State river, say the Krishna or Cauvery or Ganga or Yamuna or Narmada, should be “under the control of the Union”, it can enact a law to that effect, which will give the Union government powers over that river
• This provision has not been used by Parliament and thus no law has been passed bringing any river under the control of the Union
• The central government, however passed River Boards Act 1956 (allowed setting up of Inter State River Boards) under entry 56. No such boards have been set up. The act is considered to be a dead letter. The reasons are political, i.e., strong resistance by State governments to any enhancement of the role of the Central government.

Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI) Bill, 2017
• To declare the FDDI as an Institution of National Importance (INI)
• The Footwear Design & Development Institute was established in 1986 with the objective of providing trained human resource and assistance to the sector. FDDI has Pan-India presence
• INI is an institute which serves as a pivotal player in highly developing highly skilled personnel within the specified region of the country or state
• INIs receive special recognition and funding