Current Affairs

Union Cabinet approves proposal for enactment of Dam Safety Bill, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the Union Cabinet that has approved the proposal for introduction of Dam Safety Bill, 2018 in the Parliament. 
  • The bill has been drafted with the vision that it will help all the States and Union Territories of India to adopt uniform dam safety procedures which in turn shall ensure safety of dams and safeguard benefits from such dams. 
  • Safety of humans, livestock and property is expected to be achieved by this proposed bill's enactment. 
  • A great amount of consultation with leading Indian and international experts have been done that has resulted in arriving at this draft bill. 

The Bill is aimed at achieving the following:

  • Safety of humans, livestock and property. 
  • Proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in the country to ensure their safe functioning. 
  • Constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety which shall evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations as may be required for the purpose. 
  • Establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country. 
  • Constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by State Government. 

Role of National Dam Safety Authority

  • It shall maintain liaison with the State Dam Safety Organisations and the owners of dams for standardisation of dam safety related data and practices. 
  • It shall provide the technical and managerial assistance to the States and State Dam Safety Organisations. 
  • It shall maintain a national level data-base of all dams in the country and the records of major dam failures. 
  • It shall examine the cause of any major dam failure. 
  • It shall publish and update the standard guidelines and check-lists for the routine inspection and detailed investigations of dams and appurtenances. 
  • It shall accord recognition or accreditations to the organisations that can be entrusted with the works of investigation, design or construction of new dams. 
  • It will also look into unresolved points of issue between the State Dam Safety Organisation of two states, or between the State Dam Safety Organisation of a State and the owner of a dam in that State, for proper solution. 
  • Further, in certain cases, such as dams of one State falling under the territory of another State, the National Authority shall also perform the role of State Dam Safety Organization thereby eliminating potential causes for inter-state conflicts. 

Role of State Committee on Dam Safety:

  • To ensure proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in that State and ensure their safe functioning. 
  • To make sure that every State shall establish a "State Dam Safety Organisation". 
It might be of some interest that there are over 5200 large dams in India and about 450 are under construction but lack of legal and institutional architecture for dam safety in India makes dam safety a growing concern.

The Dam Safety Bill, 2018 address all issues concerning dam safety including regular inspection of dams, Emergency Action Plan, comprehensive dam safety review, adequate repair and maintenance funds for dam safety, Instrumentation and Safety Manuals. It also lays onus of dam safety on the dam owner and provides for penal provisions for commission and omission of certain acts.

Union Cabinet approves proposal for enactment of Dam Safety Bill, 2018 Union Cabinet approves proposal for enactment of Dam Safety Bill, 2018 Reviewed by Aman Bhatia on June 15, 2018 Rating: 5

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