The National Flood Control Programme was launched in 1954 for the first time, in the country. Since then, sizeable progress has been made in the flood protection measures. Nearly one third of the flood prone area had been afforded reasonable protection by 1976. During the period of two decades, considerable experience had also been gained in planning, implementation and performance of the flood protection and control measures. Advancement in technology had taken place not only in India but also in the world over. It, therefore, became necessary to conduct an in depth study of the country’s approach and programmes of flood control measures and formulation of a flood control policy. It required detailed study of various problems concerned with flood control measures and aspects like soil conservation and afforestation. The Government of India, therefore, decided to set up the Rashtriya Barh Ayog (National Flood Commission) in 1976 to evolve a coordinated, integrated and scientific approach to the flood control problems in the country and to draw out a national plan fixing priorities for implementation in the future. The composition of the Commission was as follows:
1. Shri Jaisukhlal Hathi - Chairman (Part-time)
2. Two experts in flood control from States - Members
3. One Economist - Member
4. One Agronomist - Member
5. Representative of the Central Water Commission, Ganga Flood Control Commission, and Brahmaputra Flood Control Commission - Members
6. One Member - Secretary.
The terms of reference of the Commission was as follows:-
1. To review the flood protection measures undertaken since 1954 and to make an evaluation of the benefits and effectiveness of the measures undertaken so far with special reference to embankments in reducing the damage
2. To identify the areas where a large number of Zamindari and/or unauthorized embankments, bunds and spurs etc., exist; to assess the effect of such constructions on the flood problem; and suggest remedial measures
3. To identify the areas where construction of roads, highways, railways etc., and other encroachments into drains have aggravated flood problems and to suggest measures for improvements including legislative action, if any
4. To analyze the damage caused by floods in recent years and to identify areas requiring immediate flood protection measures
5. To evolve a comprehensive approach to the problem of floods in the country keeping in view the need for optimum and multi-purpose utilization of water resources as also the role of soil conservation and afforestation in flood control
6. To make an analysis of the cost and benefits of flood protection measures
7. To suggest criteria for taking up flood protection measures and means of mobilizing resources therefore
8. To recommend proper land use in the flood plains with a view to minimize damage and to ensure overall increase in agriculture production
9. To examine the existing arrangements for maintenance of flood protection works and recommend measures for improving the same
10. To review the existing administrative and organizational set up for flood control at the Centre and in the States and suggest improvements where necessary, flood control to include flood forecasting and warning, flood fighting, formulation and implementation of flood protection measures
11. To examine the present procedure of assessing flood damage and suggest improvements
12. To examine any other matter related to floods and flood control and make suitable recommendations.
Though the RBA report was submitted in 1980 and accepted by Government, not much progress has been made in the implementation of its recommendations. As such, Ministry of Water Resources , Govt. of India vide their order No. F.No.22/15/2001-ER/4480-4500 dt. 19.10.2001 set up an Expert Committee to review the Implementation of recommendations of Rashtriya Barh Ayog (RBA). The Committee which was to identify the bottlenecks faced by the State Govt. in its implementation and to examine and suggest measures for implementation of RBA recommendations for effective Flood Management in the country, has since submitted its report. The report of the committee is under examination in the Ministry of Water Resources.