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

Articles By Ashish Kothari

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?

Corruption and the Right to Participate

The last few years have seen a spate of rights-related legislations related to information, employment, and education. But this package of laws is incomplete without a fundamental right to participate in decisions relating to development, welfare, and conservation. Such a right, and concomitant responsibilities, should be enshrined in the Constitution, and be enforceable through one or more laws.

Displacement and Relocation of Protected Areas: A Synthesis and Analysis of Case Studies

Relocation of human populations from the protected areas results in a host of socio-economic impacts. In India, in many cases, especially relating to tribal communities that have been relatively isolated from the outside world, the displacement is traumatic from both economic and cultural points of view. This paper provides brief case studies of displacement (past, ongoing, or proposed) from protected areas, number of villages/families displaced, the place where these villages/families were relocated to, governance of the relocation process, and the kind or nature of relocation (voluntary, induced or forced). It finds that not even a single study shows the ecological costs and benefits of relocation, comparing what happens at the old site to what happens at the rehabilitation site. This is a shocking gap, given that relocation is always justified from the point of view of reducing pressures and securing wildlife habitats.

National Biodiversity Action Plan

Over the last few years the Ministry of Environment and Forests has become a rubber stamp for the most destructive and unsustainable process of "development" unleashed in India. Several environmental regulations have been systematically re-engineered to fall in line with the status quo of the great green cover-up. The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan was just another victim of this process, dumped because it recommended uncomfortable steps necessary to reorient the economy and polity towards greater sustainability, accountability and democracy.

A Sympathetic Critique of the Bhaduri-Patkar Model

In suggesting an alternative to the current pattern of industrialisation we cannot ignore the environmental limits of industrial growth. Sustainable alternatives need to incorporate an understanding that non-industrial lifestyles and non-human life forms too deserve respect and space to flourish. This short piece offers a sympathetic critique of the Amit Bhaduri- Medha Patkar economic formula (3 January 2009).