Centre does not wish to encroach on rights of states: PM

New Delhi: The National Water Policy was today adopted by states with Centre assuring that it does not wish to encroach on their rights and that their concerns on an over-arching framework on water laws will be addressed.

Amid fear expressed by various state governments that the legal framework proposed in the policy was an infringement on their Constitutional rights, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stepped in this morning to allay such apprehensions.

"The central government does not wish to encroach, in any manner, upon the constitutionally guaranteed rights of states or to centralise water management…I would like to emphasise the need to see the proposed national legal framework in proper perspective," he said in his opening remarks at the 6th National Water Resources Council meeting where the document was adopted.

"The policy will not be re-drafted. Some modifications will be made to address the concerns of the states," Water Resources Minister Harish Rawat told reporters after the meeting.

"Even while it is recognised that states have the right to frame suitable policies, laws and regulations on water, there is a felt need to evolve a broad over-arching national legal framework of general principles on water to lead the way for essential legislation on water governance in every state of the Union and devolution of necessary authority to the lower tiers of government to deal with the local water situation," the policy reads.

Besides suggesting a legal framework for water laws, the policy also proposes Water Regulatory Authority (WRA) in all the states to fix and regulate the water tariff system and charges.