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

Articles by Ashish KothariSubscribe to 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?

The Many Colours of Environmentalism

Green and Saffron by Mukul Sharma (Ranikhet: Permanent Black), 2012; pp 263; Rs 795 (HB).

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).

Globalisation vs India's Forests

Wanton usage of forest land in the name of development has destroyed efforts towards community-led measures for protection and conservation in Orissa. The laxity in framing adequate environmental laws and the flouting of even the existing laws have had disastrous effects on the livelihoods of forestdwelling people in the state.

Draft National Environment Policy 2004

The draft NEP's diagnosis of the environmental crisis in India contains a fair assessment of the institutional, policy and other failings that have brought this about. However, it falls seriously short of pointing to fundamental changes required in development and planning with regard to natural resources that would put India onto a path of sustainable development. Moreover, it has been formulated in a largely non-participatory manner, failing to involve most sections of the populace who depend on natural resources for life and livelihood reasons.

Environment, Food Security and Natural Resources

The Tenth Plan Approach Paper has many interesting and progressive elements, but also many prescriptions that are likely to cause further destruction of the environment, food security, and people's natural resource-based livelihoods. There is no clear and coherent thrust towards integrating these concerns throughout the paper, within all sectors. Even at this late stage, it would be fruitful for the Planning Commission to set up a group of independent persons to consider ways of achieving such integration.

Sharing Benefits of Wildlife Conservation with Local Communities-Legal Implications

with Local Communities Legal Implications Neema Pathak Ashish Kothari This paper traces the history of conservation practices in India, both official and non-official, and their direct and indirect impact on the status of biodiversity today. The authors then analyse the costs and benefits of official efforts at conservation, specifically focusing on who gains and who loses, The implications of the above for policy and legal frameworks, including the existing and proposed laws dealing with wildlife and biodiversity, are then discussed.

Re-Evaluating Multi-Purpose River Valley Projects-A Case Study of Hirakud, Ukai and IGNP

The absence of post-construction reviews severely hamper assessments of multi-purpose river valley projects' (MRVPs) actual performance vis-a-vis its claims. Long-term effects like ecological disequilibriums remain unaccounted for due to an absence of comprehensive pre-project environmental impact assessment. This article, studying three projects, namely, Hirakud, Ukai and Indira Gandhi Nahar Project (IGNP), clearly demonstrates the glaring and complete dichotomy between pre-construction projections and post-construction realities. Waterlogging, salinity, sedimentation and health hazards have a high possibility of occurrence. Even flood control, irrigation and power generation are not effective as envisaged. These experiences, the article argues, need to be studied in-depth and made to constitute an important part of future planning for MRVPs.

Biodiversity, Intellectual Property Rights, and GATT Agreement-How to Address the Conflicts

and GATT Agreement How to Address the Conflicts? Ashish Kothari R V Anuradha This paper examines the impact of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) on biodiversity in general and specifically on the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It also addresses the broader issue of the relationship between the GATT/WTO Agreement and the CBD. It then reflects on the choices available to ensure that the objectives of the CBD are not undermined.

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