Forget the India you once knew: It is gone. Contemplate instead a new, funky, self-confident, resurgent nation, embracing its role as an emerging Asian superpower. This year, India’s growth rate could outstrip China’s — and prove more sustainable (ROGER MITTON) India is believed to be marching towards becoming a superpower in the world within the next 20 years.
If we can believe the news paper reports, the American secret agencies has already submitted a report to former president George Bush regarding India’s prospect of becoming a superpower in the near future. The current economic problems were not caused much harm to the Indian economy. The Indian economy has stood out amidst a lot of other dipping economies because of the mixed economy principles it follows.
Even though India is having a huge population (over 1 billion people and the second largest in world next to China) it succeeded in gradually improving the living standards of the people after the independence in 1947. Rural areas and urban areas were developed equally. Internet facilities, computer, mobile phones and land phone communication facilities were common even in the rural areas nowadays. Other Infrastructure facilities like, road, rail, and power sector also improved immensely over a time period.
Among all these developments, India is facing certain challenges as well against its thirst for becoming a super power. The main threats are terrorism, water crisis, and energy crisis. I would like to focus mainly on the current water crisis in India which retards India’s growth.
Water crisis in India
“India’s huge and growing population is putting a severe strain on all of the country’s natural resources. Most water sources are contaminated by sewage and agricultural runoff. World Bank estimates that 21% of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water. In India, diarrhea alone causes more than 1,600 deaths daily” (Water Partners International)
The main problem India facing is not the lack of water resources. But the failure in managing the available water resources effectively is the main problem. Because of the immense population most of the water resources are contaminated. People often make use of the drinking water sources to bath their domestic animals like cow, buffalo, goat etc and hence the valuable drinking water sources will be contaminated. Moreover the usage of outside open places for toileting has made the problem even worst. “India’s water crisis is predominantly a manmade problem.
Extremely poor management, unclear laws, government corruption, and industrial and human waste have caused this water supply crunch and rendered what water is available practically useless due to the huge quantity of pollution” (Brooks)
Yamuna River is one of the best examples of mismanagement of water resources in India. It is considered as a sacred river by the Hindu mythology. “In Hindu mythology, the Yamuna is considered to be a river that fell from heaven to earth. Today, it is a foul portrait of crippled infrastructure — and yet, still worshiped.” (SENGUPTA) People scatter the ashes of their dead in this river as a ritual. Moreover it is filled with lot of plastic materials which are disposed by the pilgrims and the visitors of the river.
“The water crisis, decades in the making, has grown as fast as India in recent years. A soaring population, the warp-speed sprawl of cities, and a vast and thirsty farm belt have all put new strains on a feeble, ill-kept public water and sanitation network.” (SENGUPTA) Some of the Indian states have lot of water resources while the others lack it. The Indian government has recently proposed a multibillion rupee project of unification of all the rivers to address the water problem of all the states. But because of the differences between the states regarding the water share, the project still lies on paper.
“The government says that 9 out of 10 Indians have access to public water supply, but that may include sources that are going dry or have been contaminated. Climate change is only expected to exacerbate the problems, heightening India’s vulnerability to extreme bouts of weather – heat, deluge or drought.” (Sengupta) It is a fact that drinking water supply schemes has been improved a lot in the rural and urban areas. But most of the times especially in summer when the scarcity of drinking water becomes severe, these public water supply schemes may not function effectively. There may be broken pipes or lack of power to sustain the water supply when it is mostly needed.
“While the development of sustainable and safe drinking water supplies is a global challenge, it is particularly acute in India, given its high population density, space and time variability of rainfall, and increasing depletion and contamination of its surface and ground water resources” (BAJPAI) The high population rate is one of the main barriers for India’s efforts to provide pure drinking water to all its citizens. The literacy percentage of the rural people is still below the average and hence their awareness about the safe usage of water sources is comparatively less.
India is supposed to be the biggest democratic country in the world. The success of democracy will be rated against the government’s ability to provide the essential basic requirements to the public. Unlike many other countries, India’s water problem is not related to scarcity of water resources, but it is related to the mismanagement of the available water resources. Problems related to drinking water have threatened India’s ability to sustain its economic growth and make its cities healthy and habitable.
1. MITTON ROGER, Giant on the Move, Retrieved on March 18, 2009 from
2. Water Partners International, 2009, India, Retrieved on March 18, 2009 from
3. SENGUPTA SOMINI , 2006, In Teeming India, Water Crisis Means Dry Pipes and Foul
Sludge, Retrieved on March 18, 2009 from
4. Sengupta Somini, 2006, Water Crisis Grows Worse as India Gets Richer, Retrieved on
March 18, 2009 from <http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/09/28/news/water.php>
5. Brooks Nina, 2007, Imminent Water Crisis in India, Retrieved on
March 18, 2009 from <http://www.arlingtoninstitute.org/wbp/global-water-