Pawan Kumar Bansal, who took over as Minister of Water Resources on Wednesday, said the government will come out with a new water policy next year even as he would strive to implement linking of intra-state rivers.

Mr. Bansal, who returned to the Water Resources ministry after a gap of six months, said his ministry would bring out the latest National Water Policy by March 31 next year.

India’s current National Water Policy was adopted way back in 2002 and national-level consultations are midway to formulate the next policy based on increased population and rising levels of water pollution.

The consultations would now take place at the level of Panchayati Raj institutions.

Pointing out that the National River Linking Project has to overcome issues relating to existing constitutional and legal provisions as well as Centre-state relations, Mr. Bansal said his ministry would focus on intra-state linking of rivers as a part of integrated management of river basins.

He said it would help provide equal share of water to various parts of a state.

Regarding interlinking of rivers at the national level, he said the ministry will take forward the Ken-Betwa link to which the governments of UP and MP have given their assent.

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