EDITORIAL - TRIDIB RAMAN



www.tridibraman.com

A Pretty Sad Environment


Today, the welfare state has pledged itself to the rich and the powerful, and has given the bye to almost all protective environmental laws



This is a very special occasion for us at Parliamentarian. And hence a very special edition.

In 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm, Sweden, from June 5 to 16. There, our then Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi made some seminal statements. Poverty is the ultimate polluter,she stated there. Burning of fossil fuel for basic survival, open defecation, unsustainable practices were some of the factors.

But today we have come to such a pass where the welfare state has pledged itself to the rich and the powerful and have given the bye to almost all the environmental laws of our own country. A polity can hardly be termed a democracy if it stonewalls all those laws which are meant for ensuring equitable distribution of wealth. And by removing the requirement of permission from the tribal village councils to start any venture on their traditional lands and in forests, the Modi government has done just that.

Ironically, this is the legalisation of corruption. As our Senior Editor Sharad Gupta shows in his seminal article Dust in Our Eyes, while the previous United Progressive Alliance government under Manmohan Singh sank on charges of corrupt practices in allocation of coal blocks, this government has diluted the laws to such a nice extent that there will never be charges of corruption; and yet, the poor, and the environment, will suffer. All the legal bypasses are being worked out to ensure the happiness of just a few and the concept of a welfare state of bahujana hitayacha is biting dust. And yet, this is not what India was all about. In his portmanteau article for the Environment Special Edition, to mark World Environment Day on June 5, Editor-at-Large Sujit Chakraborty invokes the Vedic mantra, Madhu vata ritayate Madhu ksharanti sindhava to put in place the vision of our seers on a holistic developmental path that would ensure ultimate sustenance for all, not just for a handful of the Adanis and Ambanis of this world.

In this edition we have tried to spread our wings as far as possible to bring together the widest possible coverage of India environmental concerns, internally as well as globally. To that extent, I must thank Dr Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India, for taking time out to explain the critical significance of the department. I am happy too that Anumita Roychoudhury, a top international advocate for clean air and one of the captains at the Centre for Science and Environment has written on a crucial subject. Sankar Ray, our regular columnist on international affairs, has set the picture in place where India stands in the global negotiations for balanced development.

In the meanwhile, along with our internal concerns, we felt it incumbent to address the issue of a looming world crisis in the form of a rogue regime in North Korea, and its equally pugnacious Donald Trump USA. Dr Jitendra Uttam of the Jawaharlal Nehru University has succinctly done that.

It gives me a great pleasure to introduce to you the latest in our bouquet, Group Editor DP Sharan, who explains in his Last Word the complexities of the Indo-Pak proxy war in which an Indian naval officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav, could well become a martyr. Sharan weighs India options, which not just reflects on an immediate issue but also on a long term strategy.

Let us say Cheers for Mother Earth and Mother India, and happy reading