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16th Nov. 2019 Answer writing

(General Studies I)

Q. ‘What are the pros & cons of River linking projects in India. Discuss (250 words)

Model Answer:

The National River Linking Project (NRLP), envisages the transfer of water from water ‘surplus’ basins where there is flooding to water ‘deficit’ basins where there is drought/scarcity, through inter-basin water transfer projects

18 % of world population lives in India & only around 3 % of water resource is available for use. Uneven rainfall, lack of perennial rivers in some states has made water scarce resource. In this given context river –interlinking has been viewed with some promising solution.

The National Perspective Plan (NPP) was prepared by the then Ministry of Irrigation, now Ministry of Water Resources, RD & GR for water resources development through inter basin transfer of water, for transferring water from water surplus basins to water-deficit basins.

There are 3 Components of River Linking Projects


  1. Northern Himalayan Rivers interlink component.- Under this 14 links have been identified – Ganga / Brahmaputra
  2. A southern peninsular component.-It includes 16 links propose to connect the rivers of South India
  3. An intra-State rivers linking component


  1. Uneven water flow in different river basins will get balanced. Hence very less flood can be expected
  2. Around 65% of the flow in the rivers is untapped and goes to sea every year
  3. River interlinking project claims to generate total power of 34 GW
  4. Ground water Recharging
  5. Reduce migration due to water crisis
  6.  6 .Promote tourism due to water availability
  7. Provide additional revenue to states through electricity


  1. Huge financial burdens
  2. Ecological balance of land and oceans, freshwater and sea water, also gets disrupted
  3. Collecting huge water can cause earthquake, called Reservoir Induced Seismicity. For example, Panchesvaram dam
  4. If India has reservations when China builds dams then Bangladesh will also have reservations with India when India goes to built a dam.

Shah committee pointed out that the linking of rivers will affect natural supply of nutrients for agricultural lands through curtailing flooding of downstream areas.

Way forward:

  1. Small scale conservation by practices of water conservation
  2. Afforestration through CAMPA is to be concurrently addressed.


Thus, it is the need of the hour to have a water mission like as IRL, which will enable availability of water to the fields, villages, towns and industries throughout the year. But before adopting any project we need to analyse all the pros and cons of project such as how it is going to effect the environment, people, biodiversity etc.


Date- 16/11/2019                                                                                                        (Dept. of Content Development)


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