Water is an invaluable natural resource and is paramount for human sustenance. While it is the most abundant resource occurring on earth, fresh water is even less than 3.0 percent. India accounts for 18.0percent of the world’s population but only 4.0percent of its water resources, making it among the most water-stressed in the world and water bodies are an integral part of fresh water resources. The landscape of India is dotted with extraordinarily diverse natural and man-made water bodies; ranging from lakes, ponds, tanks, reservoirs to marshes, mangroves, backwaters and lagoons and play a vital role in maintaining water balance, flood prevention, support biodiversity and food security and livelihoods. They have also been a major source of Minor Irrigation (MI) system for agriculture. However, myriad of phenomenon like rapid urbanization, unplanned population growth, over harvesting etc. have led to water becoming a scarce resources thereby adversely affecting the water bodies either by pollution, climate change and other human activities. Hence, enumeration, preservation, conservation and renovation of water bodies are of prime concern for economic, social and environmental sustainability.

The Centrally Sponsored Plan Scheme “Rationalisation of Minor Irrigation Statistics(RMIS)” was launched in 1987-88 with 100% Central assistance to the States/UTs.  Since the XIth Five Year Plan the RMIS Scheme has become part of the Central Sector Plan Scheme “Development of Water Resources Information System(DWRIS)”.  During the XII Plan, RMIS was a sub-component of “Irrigation Census” component of the Plan Scheme DWRIS.  Currently Irrigation Census (parent component of “RMIS”) is a standalone component under Umbrella Scheme- Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana and Other Schemes.

The main objective of the RMIS scheme is to build up a comprehensive and reliable database in the Minor Irrigation (MI) Sector for effective planning and policymaking. The major activity under the scheme is the Census of Minor Irrigation schemes conducted in the States/UTs covering all ground water and surface water schemes (which are mostly under private ownership up to 2000 ha.).  So far six Censuses have been conducted with reference years 1986-87, 1993-94, 2000-01, 2006-07, 2013-14 and 2017-18 respectively.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee for the Examination of the Demands for Grants of the Ministry of Jal Shakti had directed that a census of Water Bodies should be undertaken so as to have a national database of all Water Bodies in the country which will inter-alia collect information on all important aspects of the subject including their size, condition, status of encroachments, use, storage capacity, status of filling up of storage etc.