Do the Benefits of Mining in Goa Outweigh the Costs?

In 2010, the National Council of Applied Economic Research published a report titled “A Study of the Contribution of the Goan Iron Ore Mining Industry” that evaluated “the contribution of [the] industry to the economic development of the state.” The report sought to compare the benefits and costs of mining and forest services, and concluded that the benefits created by the industry in Goa outweigh the costs they impose. 

Gopal K Kadekodi and Pranab Mukhopadhyay’s article (2011) argues that the report has overvalued the social benefits generated by the mining industry and simultaneously undervalued the costs it imposes, namely “the loss of an entire set of ecosystem services.” Rahul Basu (2012) supports Kadekodi and Mukhopadhyay’s critiques of the report and adds that it overestimates the employment that the industry generates and relies on inflated future iron ore prices. R Venkatesan (2012), co-author of the NCAER report, defends the study's methodology and argues that Kadekodi and Mukhopadhyay’s criticism relies on computational flaws. Further, Venkatesan argues that since Basu’s claims rely on Kadekodi and Mukhopadhyay’s calculations and claims, those are also flawed.

Basu responds to R Venkatesan, further questioning NCAER’s research ethics and arguing that basic errors in the report suggest that the analysis was force-fitted to meet a conclusion that favours private industry.

A few other works that are broadly related to this discussion:

  1. Goa’s Shifting Greens and Its Long History of Environmentalism, Frederick Noronha, 2017 
  2. Mormugao Port Modernisation: Proceedings of an Environmental Public Hearing, Sherwyn Correia, 2018
  3. Goa's Mining Logjam, Pamela D’Mello, 2015 
  4. Implementing Intergenerational Equity in Goa, Rahul Basu, 2014 
  5. Ramponkars in Goa: Between Modernisation, Government and the Deep Blue Sea, Avinash V Raikar and Sharon D'Cruz, 2004
  6. People's Struggle against DuPont in Goa, Gary Cohen and Satinath Sarangi, 1995

Ed: To contribute to a more comprehensive discussion map, please share links to other relevant articles in the comments section or write to us at edit@epw.in with the subject line—"Environment and Development."

Curated by Abhishek Shah [abhishekshah@epw.in]

 

Image courtesy: Modified Wikimedia Commons/TripodStories- AB [CC BY-SA 4.0]

 

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