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

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Intergenerational Equity Case Study

The public trust doctrine makes natural resources a part of the commons, owned equally by all, and legally owned by the state. The resources and opportunities that the present generation have inherited must be available to future generations in perpetuity. In the Goa mining case, the Supreme Court wanted to implement intergenerational equity on the grounds of the exhaustion of the iron-ore reserves as well as the widespread damage to the Goan environment and social fabric.

Catastrophic Failure of Public Trust in Mining

Minerals are a commons, held by state governments in public trust for the people, especially for future generations. With mining, states dispose of minerals for money, and have so far lost more than half their value. As this study shows, over the last eight years of iron ore mining in Goa, each family of four in the state has lost the equivalent of Rs 13.51 lakh, while the average Goan private household's assets are estimated to be Rs 10.44 lakh. This is catastrophic.

Implementing Intergenerational Equity in Goa

Hartwick's rule says that as mineral resources are extracted from the ground, investments in productive assets need to be made to leave future generations with as much assets as the present generation. This article examines whether mining in Goa meets Hartwick's rule, and finds that the state government captures only a small fraction of the value of the iron ore extracted from mines it has leased out. It also finds that most of the value of the iron ore is cornered by mining leaseholders, resulting in a significant redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich. It points to national and sub-national entities that follow Hartwick's rule, and says there are many best practices that can be easily adopted by India.

Mining in Goa: Beyond Forest Issues

This comment on "Missing the Woods for the Ore: Goa's Development Myopia" by Pranab Mukhopadhyay and Gopal K Kadekodi further criticises "A Study on Goan Iron Ore Mining Industry", the 2010 report of the National Council of Applied Economic Research.
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