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Dam Safety Bill


Background for dam safety


  • According to the central water commission (CWC) is important to ensuring continuity of benefits derived from projects and national water security.
  • India ranks 3rd in world after US, China to have large dams in country, however safety issue is a concern.
  • According to national registers of large dams – India has 5745, out of which 293 dams are over hundred years old.
  • CWC has raised head flag on aging dams in the country.
  • The draft of the dam safety was decided in year 1987.



  • Objective of dam safety is to develop uniform country wide procedure for ensuring safety of dams.
  • The dam safety bill provides or surveillance, Inspection, operation, maintenance of specified dams in India via regulatory body.
  • Regulatory body is national dam safety authority that will implement the policy guidelines and standard of dam safety in country.
  • It also entitles setting upon state committee on dams’ safety and state dam safety organization.
  • National committee on dam safety will; be set up to evolve safety policies and recommends necessary regulations.
  • The bill seeks to address issues concerning dam safety including regular inspections of dams, adequate and maintained funds and instrumentation and the safety manuals.
  • The bill lays the onus dam safety on the dam owners and provides penal for commission and omission of certain acts.

Four organization that are created under the bill are:


  1. National dam safety authority (NDSA)
  2. State dam safety authority (SDSA)
  3. National committee on dam safety (NCDS)
  4. State committee on dam safety (SCDS)

National dam safety authority (NDSA):

  • NDSA as a body will implement policies and guidelines for dam safety in a country.
  • National level database of all dams in a country will be maintained by NDSA.

State dam safety Authority (SDSA):

  • SDSA will look into the safety of dams at state levels.
  • The bills apply to all specified dams in the country that will include dams built on intra and interstate rivers.

The dams that come under the review of the bills are:

  • Height with more than 15 meters.
  • Height between 10 to 15 meters and satisfying certain additional design conditions such as reservoir capacity of at least 1mcm and the length of top of the dam at least 500 meters.

Why the bill is facing opposition?

  • The state government feels that water and dam management would be at the central government control rather than the states.
  • The entry 17 of the state list allows states to make laws on issues on water supply, irrigation, canal, drainage, water storage, and water powers, on the other end the Centre controls rivers on the water is limited only to make laws on the regulation of interstate rivers and river valley that is mandated under entry 56 of Union list.







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