ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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We Are the River, the River Is Us

As per the recent ruling of the Uttarakhand High Court, the Ganga and Yamuna rivers have rights as a “juristic/legal person/living entity.” It raises a complex set of questions. What does it mean for a river, and its associated natural elements, to have rights? What does it mean for them to have rights as a “person?” How would such rights be implemented, given that rivers and other elements of nature would not be able to claim and defend such rights for themselves? What implications do these two decisions have for not just the rivers and those living in/on/along them, but for the relationship between humans and the rest of nature? This article addresses these questions in order to find solutions.

Rivers and Human Rights: We are the River, the River is Us?

As per the recent ruling of the Uttarakhand High Court, the Ganga and Yamuna rivers have rights as a “juristic/legal person/living entity.” It raises a complex set of questions. What does it mean for a river, and its associated natural elements, to have rights? What does it mean for them to have rights as a “person?” How would such rights be implemented, given that rivers and other elements of nature would not be able to themselves claim and defend such rights? What implications do these two decisions have for not just the rivers and those living in/on/along them, but for the relationship between humans and the rest of nature? This study addresses these questions in order to find solutions.

Introduction

Why a Review of Environment and Development? The Review of Environment and Development has been ­imagined to address social, political and economic ­issues ­related to environment and ecosystems, at all scales from local to global. In particular, it is intended to capture the dialectical...

A Flawed Climate Road Map

India submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution on 1 October. The policy document on climate change has received laurels from diverse quarters. INDC justifies the projected rise in India's emissions by emphasising the country's development imperatives. This obscures the fact that the well-off will stamp their ecological footprint and the country will justify the rise in its emissions by hiding behind the poor.

Greenpeace Ban: Violation of Rights

(The following are extracts from an open letter sent to the Minister of Home Affairs, Rajnath Singh, protesting against the decision to freeze Greenpeace India’s accounts.) The move by the central government to freeze Greenpeace India’s bank accounts and block sources of funds, is a blatant...

A Hundred Days Closer to Ecological and Social Suicide

The first 100 days of the Narendra Modi government which have been celebrated by the mainstream media saw what can only be called a widespread and large-scale assault on rules, laws and institutions meant to protect the environment, and more is on the cards. Side by side, the central as also state governments of various hues have moved against non-governmental organisations raising social and environmental issues. But resistance to corporate-driven growth continues and alternatives continue to be explored.

Dialogue Needed on Sardar Sarovar

The following is an Open Letter to Uma Bharti, Minister for Water Resources, Government of India: We the undersigned believe that the recent decision of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam by 16.76 metres (m) taking the height to the designed final...

Attack on Paper

T hejas , a daily newspaper in Malayalam, published from Calicut and four other centres in Kerala, has been served with a notice by the additional district magistrates of Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, to show cause why its declaration for publication shall not be cancelled for publishing news...

Development and Ecological Sustainability in India

This paper is aimed at policy-level discussions, as well as an aid to civil society to push for necessary changes to take Indian economy, society and polity towards the goal of human well-being with ecological sustainability as one fulcrum. A possible post-2015 framework of implementation of the Millennium Development Goals that combines sustainability and human well-being that could be applied globally, including its key principles, is attempted at here.

Attacking INSAF

We the undersigned are shocked and dismayed at the Government of India’s action against Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), a national coalition of 700 people’s movements, social action groups and progressive intellectuals with an active presence in 15 states of India. According to a communication...

National Investment Board

The proposal for an all-powerful National Investment Board to clear large projects has stirred opposition, including from within the government. The opposition has been about riding roughshod over the concerns of some ministries. But the NIB proposal also throws up larger issues. Has India's economic growth really meant "development" in the true sense of the word, and how sustainable and equitable is it? Measures like the NIB may well help in taking the growth rate a notch up, but is this necessarily good? Who is the real "terrorist": those who "delay" investment projects in the name of the environment or people's rights, or those who impose such projects in the name of development?

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