Water: A Human Rights Perspective

The paper briefly describes the importance and significance of water to human life. The paper traces the genesis of the water being regarded as a human right. In this perspective, an attempt is made to trace the various International Conferences, Declarations, etc. The paper analyses the National water policy and the State water policy of Orissa. Water in the perspective of globalization, liberalization and privatization is also discussed vis-à-vis the poor and the tribal peoples. While examining water as a human right, the paper also briefly touches the Constitutional provisions and the interpretations of the Supreme Court of India. The paper examines the various aspects of the water issue in India, more particularly to the State of Orissa, illustrating it with suitable case studies. The paper concludes that water is also a threat to the multi-national corporations selling soft-drinks. In the human rights perspective, the paper strongly advocates that water qualifies in the category of human right and not a human need.