In 1991, the Congress government announced a new economic regime that meant opening India for trade and investment, tax reforms and privatisation of institutions, activities and resources. Down To Earth invited economists and bureaucrats to discuss what the shift augured for the environment. Extracts of the debate carried in the May 31, 1992, issue
Issue Date: Dec 31, 2011
Arms outstretched on the edge of the cliffs Stand a few trees Ready to fly away with the clouds.
Issue Date: Dec 15, 2011
Gujjars are protesting because they resent being thrown out of their homes by the proposed Rajaji National Park in Uttar Pradesh. In coastal Orissa, Chilika fisherfolk are protesting the allocation by the government of a slice of their environment to the House of Tata.
Issue Date: Nov 30, 2011
Data from remote sensing could replace dusty files in the large cupboards of officialdom with computer tapes, discs and video monitors. Providing such relatively easy access to vast amounts of data will be of immense help to the country’s planners.
Issue Date: Nov 15, 2011
The main obstacles to the growth of female literacy have been indicated by many studies to be rooted in caste, cultural and economic factors. While there can be no doubt that these are important factors, little attention has been paid to the effect on female illiteracy of adverse environmental pressures.
Issue Date: Oct 31, 2011
Rain in the hills usually evokes romantic images. But in the Himalaya, the monsoon often becomes macabre. It had been raining incessantly through the evening of September 2 and the inhabitants of the seven villages in the Angoth gram sabha of Chamoli district were getting ready to sleep. In nearby Gadni Bazaar, at the confluence of two gadheras (mountain streams), the owners of the 17 shops there downed their shutters—for the last time as it turned out, because a cloudburst touched off a sudden flood in Meduli gadhera. The furiously flowing waters swept the entire bazaar away and 14 persons sleeping there were drowned.
Issue Date: Oct 15, 2011
Now that “neemania” has gripped scientists in the West and neem (Azadirachta indica) is being hailed as the wonder tree that can solve global problems from locust swarms to AIDS, Indian scientists are jumping onto the bandwagon. After Western scientists proved that neem-based pesticides are safer than synthetic ones such as DDT and can be commercially produced, Indian bureaucrats are pressing manufacturers to get in on the act.
Issue Date: Sep 30, 2011
The Ganga Action Programme is a very ambitious scheme. It aims to clean one of the world’s longest rivers using sophisticated and expensive technologies. But the project does not sufficiently recognise that the river flows through one of the poorest and the most densely populated regions of the world.
Issue Date: Sep 15, 2011
Matters reached a head earlier this year when the prime minister assured the power ministers’ conference the government would decide within a month about power projects which were ready in all respects except for environment clearance. At a meeting convened by the prime minister’s office, the Kayamkulam project in Kerala was the only one granted clearance. The rest were returned for further clarifications. The meeting, at a later date, drew up an action plan to decide the fate of 33 projects.
Issue Date: Aug 31, 2011
Raping the forest for ephemeral fashions
Issue Date: Aug 15, 2011
The recent Group of Seven (G-7) summit clearly indicated what the outcome of the Rio conference is likely to be. There was no significant mention of any environmental issues nor was the subject of environmental aid debated at the summit.