"We need high growth, but not at the cost of the environment or health. We have sufficient laws to ensure a cleaner industrial development. But do the entrusted agencies do their jobs? Industry says its purpose is creation of wealth; environmental damage depletes this wealth. What we need is an unified vision of development"
Former Chairperson, Environment Committee, CII
"I agree that Brandon and Hommann's estimate of the cost of environmental damage in India is a gross underestimate. Both soil and gene erosion undermine the future of food security. While soil erosion is visible and attracts attention, gene erosion is not and hence tends to get ignored... We should develop methodologies for assisting elected members of panchayats and nagarpalikas to estimate the economic, social and genetic costs of environmental degradation in their respective villages and towns. The extensive environmental damage now occurring due to human greed and indifference can be halted and reversed only through human understanding and action. We need a cadre of developmental ecologists who could help the country achieve the needed growth rates in income and employment based on principles of economic sustainability and social and gender equity"
m s swaminathan
Eminent agricultural scientist
"The World Bank study is an eye-opener for advocates of the liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation policy. Under the impact of this policy, all estimated as well as unestimated health costs will rise exponentially. The study's message is clear: environmental protection policy should safeguard against the import of polluting technology on one hand, and aim at progressive reduction of pollution load of the present production pattern"
d n rao
Professor, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning,
Jawaharlal Nehru University
"The broad message from these back-of-the-envelope calculations by B&H comes out loud and clear: we better attend to our environment -- the blind pursuit of growth may have hidden costs. Not accounting for environmental costs means that we are steering our economy with a faulty compass. In fact, I had argued in 1989 in the core committee on national conservation strategy, ministry of environment and forests that we should carry out natural resource accounting regularly and the committee in its final report had recommended that. The CSE review shows how this can also be misleading. Even if it is not, perhaps unintentionally, a conceptual confusion seems to have been created. For instance, if one assumes that farmers are aware of the kind of degradation that is taking place and of the consequent loss in productivity, and if they do not take care of the soil, one might presume that the cost of preventing such degradation may be higher than the potential loss. Of course, much degradation takes place through reasons outside the farmers' control, and one cannot always argue that preventing such degradation would not have been economically optimal... The poor stress their environment as they are forced to live off that. The longer lack of economic growth keeps them in poverty, the larger would be the damage to the environment. One has also to realise that the rich are able to clean up their air and water as is seen from the US and Europe"
kirit s parikh
Director, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research