Budget 2022: Developing India’s Rivers

Historically, communities have flourished around water bodies, providing food and water and also resources for employment generation and connectivity. Waterbodies continue to remain an important factor in the development of a country, providing transportation channels of the cheapest means. India has a rich network of rivers that has been left largely unexploited as yet. These river networks have the potential to connect people from the remotest corners of the country to the mainland, create employment opportunities for youth, and improve the supply chain network across the country.

In the budget speech of 2022, the hon’ble finance minister announced the finalization of draft DPRs of five river links, namely Damanganga-Pinjal, Par-TapiNarmada, Godavari-Krishna, Krishna-Pennar, and Pennar-Cauvery have been finalized. She also elaborated that once a consensus is reached among the beneficiary states, the centre will provide support for implementation. The development of these rivers will lead to the development from northern to southern and eastern to western regions of the country owing to the strategic choice of the rivers taken up for development. 

River development is an important part of general infrastructure development in the country that is seen as a propellor of domestic manufacturing and foreign investments in India. With highway construction and airport development at its peak, as highlighted by the economic survey presented before the budget, river development will be another feather in the cap for the country, making it an even more competitive investment destination and at the same time increasing connectivity between the diverse population of the country.