Terming Gujarat as synonymous to "possibilities, change and energy," US
Secretary of State John Kerry said, "If we work united, I am sure the world's
oldest (democracy) and the largest democracy can help forge a new era of shared
prosperity and security, not only across Asia but across the world. We can end
extreme poverty in our lifetime."
sentiment was echoed by Jim Yong Kim, who said,
that the World Bank group's
deep interest in promoting policies and projects to maximise sustainable and
inclusive economic growth would not be realised
until India, a country of 1.25 billion people, follows a path of rapid economic
growth that benefits all Indians."
Commending Modi's initiative for smart cities and the vision on use of renewable
energy efficiency and looking at 2015 as a year for global action, UN
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said, "We should not only build industrial
strength but sustainable inclusive solutions."
Ki-Moon’s specific mention of “Sustainable Inclusive Development” seems to have
wider implication in view that growing industrial strength has been pushing the
towards tipping point, as mentioned
by Sam Kutesa, President of the United Nations General Assembly, at Lima during
the last climate talks.
as it seems, the Modi government is yet to give due importance to the
environmental factors while pushing for development. Rather, the government has
attempted to dilute the existing environmental norms that the investors and
corporate houses believe are putting projects into a delaying process. While the
government has already issued circulars to avoid the norms of holding public
consultations at the site of industrial projects, which is mandatory under
Forest Rights Act of 2006, it also is planning to modify the other laws to set
“short cuts” to create an investor friendly environment.
a High Level Committee, instituted by the Ministry of Environment, Forests &
Climate Change (MoEFCC) on 29th August 2014 under chairmanship of former Union
Cabinet Secretary T. S. R. Subramanian, recommends for
procedure for “linear” projects such as roads and railway lines, as well as
power or mining projects and projects of national importance.
Observing that corporates seek "short cuts" to get clearance for their
environment projects, the high level committee has suggested setting up of a
'single window' clearance system for green projects to significantly reduce the
processing time, said a report by India’s news agency PTI.
another concern is giving project proponents the benefit of doubt by accepting
their word in “utmost good faith”. It is common knowledge that proponents are
economical with the truth when it comes to specifying environmental safeguards.
Time and again, environmental impact assessments are cut-and-paste jobs, with
consultants paying obeisance to their clients. Combined with the penchant of the
present government to push projects through recklessly,
this is a recipe for disaster,” says Darryl D’Monte, Chairperson of Forum of
Environmental Journalists of India (FEJI), in his article
Environment get the Axe.
Committee was given a comprehensive mandate: to review all laws and judgments
pertaining to environment, wildlife and forest protection, and also those
relating to pollution control, and then produce a report with specific
recommendations for reforms in law and governance.
critiques comment on the whole process of examination of laws and judgments and
on the production of the report is that neither sufficient time was given to the
committee to make the report nor the public consultation was given adequate
“This report, thereby, is an outcome of a comprehensively democracy deficit
effort, and promotes a schema for environmental reforms, which, if adopted could
result in widespread chaos in environmental governance and jurisprudence,” said
Environmental Support Group, a Bangalore based organisation working on
Environmental, Social Justice and Governance Initiatives.
Modi’s pitch of a Vibrant India looks less vibrant with less green, less
this context, the smaller Himalayan nation, Bhutan, rather looked more committed and more
vibrant as its Prime Minister PM Tshering Tobgay, while pitching for a Vibrant
Bhutan, invited investors saying, “Bhutan is open for business,” and made his
stand about investment clear by saying, “But (it is open) only for clean, green
and sustainable businesses, like hydropower, organic agriculture etc.”
As the world is battling to minimise warming and overcome the disastrous impacts
of climate change, Modi and his development advocates mustn’t ignore the clues
left by the Himalayan nation while giving a shape to the idea of a Vibrant