India has a federal structure with 28 states and 7 union territories (UTs). The capital, Delhi, has the special status of National Capital Territory. The states have their own governments while the UTs are administered directly by the central government. The central government can empower a union territory for its own administration. Delhi is technically a UT but its political makeup resembles that of a typical state as it has its own legislature, high court and an executive council of ministers headed by a Chief Minister.
Regulatory framework for drinking water, wastewater discharge and reuse
Ministry of Environment and Forests (MEF): The Ministry is the central government nodal agency that plans, promotes, coordinates and oversees implementation of environment policies across the country through its various divisions and offices.
Drinking water quality regulations
BIS has formulated drinking water specifications referred to as BIS IS:10500, 1991(First Revision) Edition 2.1 (1993-01). These specifications are to be implemented by public utilities across the country. The specifications were originally published in 1983 and a second revision was initiated in 2003. The latest version of this document was drafted in December, 2009 and incorporates the modifications adopted following consultations. However it is still awaiting approval.
Municipal and industrial wastewater quality regulations
The CPCB formulates guideline specifications for domestic and industrial wastewater discharge and SPCBs take reference from CPCB specifications in order to formulate the domestic and industrial wastewater discharge standards applicable in their respective states. The CPCB specifications are enactments, which are generally implemented as standards at the state and UT level by SPCBs and PCCs. However, the SPCB can make these regulatory standards more stringent than CPCB guidelines depending on the surrounding environmental conditions in which the industrial enterprise is operating. They may also relax the standards in cases where the industrial enterprise is a small-scale enterprise and the pollution impact is limited. The CPCB has set specific industrial wastewater disposal guideline specifications for 104 categories and sub-categories of industries, some of which include:
Water reuse regulations
There are currently no federal or state regulations for water reuse in the country. Water reuse is encouraged and promoted by some states more than others. Effluent recycling is mainly carried out with the objective to reduce pollution in receiving water bodies and to reduce the volume of fresh water required.
Water in industry: Textiles
The textile industry in India is large and diverse. It includes the production of fibres and clothing from cotton, wool, silk and jute as well as manmade fibres, handicrafts and handloom production. The sector contributes over 4% to the nation’s GDP, 14% to industrial production, 17% to export earnings and employs 35 million people.
Future regulatory scenario and conclusions
The regulatory framework in India is increasingly becoming inadequate because of the rapid increase in both industrialisation and urbanisation in the country. This has created a need for wider and more efficient administration and implementation of regulations. There are major lacunas in the implementation and compliance with drinking water regulations and regulating compliance with sewage treatment.
List of laws, standards and policies