Higher GDP cant be achieved without water management: Montek

Bhopal: Managing water resources is the biggest challenge before the country, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia said here on Monday.

“Managing water resources is the biggest challenge before the country and institutes like IIFM should give a serious thought to it by integrating forest conservation with water conservation in the course,” Mr. Ahluwalia said here, addressing the Eighth Convocation of the Indian Institute of Forest Management.

Though the country’s population had increased manifold, growth in water resources had remained stagnant for the last many years, and without increase in water supply higher GDP would not be achievable, Mr. Ahluwalia said, adding that “it is important for us to recharge our water bodies“.

He also said that increasing forested area was important as forests absorb carbon emissions.

Mr. Ahluwalia stated that integrated management of mineral resources — specially coal — and the issue of livelihood of locals in the forest areas was necessary.

As there were many stakeholders in forest management, integrated approach was important, he said.

He asked the IIFM pass-outs to put forth their suggestions on development on the Planning Commission website, or through social-networking sites.

Saying that youths are more innovative than the veterans, Mr. Ahluwalia said managing natural resources would be an important part of the 12th five-year plan.

The convocation ceremony was also addressed by the Chairman of the Board of Governors of IIFM and Secretary of Ministry of Environment and Forests, T Chatterjee; and the institute’s Director R B Lal.