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

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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.

This is one prediction I did not want to come true. In April this year I wrote an article called “Could Modi Be a Development Disaster?” in which I said:

The UPAs record is not particularly positive, with nearly 2.5 lakh hectares of forest land having been diverted in just a decade…and continued forcible acquisition of lands resulting in dispossession of farmers, adivasis, fisherfolk and others. Communities, people’s movements, and NGOs are up in arms over the rapidity with which the Union Environment minister, Mr Moily, has given environmental and forest clearances to mining, industrial and infrastructural projects. But even this vast scale of social and ecological disruption could be overshadowed if Modinomics is given free rein….
Modi ….will instruct the Ministry of Environment and Forests to carry on Mr Moily’s good work of clearing every project that comes its way; and if some of the environmental laws that people fought to get in the 1980s and 1990s seem to be in the way, he will initiate measures to dilute them….
Across India, many of the struggles for rights-based laws, such as the Right to Information Act, have been of citizens’ asking for greater voice and more direct democracy. If Gujarat’s record is an indication, it is likely that such struggles will be dealt with harshly by Modi as PM….
In all the above, particularly the model of globalised ‘development’, Modi and the BJP are no different from other mainstream political leaders and parties. They continue a longer history of appropriation and centralized control of land and natural resources (with the biggest thrust during colonial times), and build on the blind adoption of the western model of development by our leaders after Independence. But Modi’s combination of undemocratic functioning, megalomania, faith in big private corporations, and social divisiveness could take the destructive model to new heights.

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