India celebrates its 60th Independence Day today.
Greening India is as much about social and economic development as it is for the environment. In some ways due to the current social situation a cost-benefit analysis of issues for India and other developing countries show that they would get more bang for their buck in investing in health, education, and sanitation like issues than climate change.
In the following video, Bjorn Lomborg asks the question: If you have $50B in the next five years where would you put the money to solve the problems of the world.
The Mint in a special edition, India at 60, provides data on the social, economic and environmental aspects of India’s development till date.
Amit Varma asks the question of freedoms that matter after political freedom.
The story of our freedom struggle was not the story of a Gandhi here or a Nehru there – it was about millions of people who rose up because they wanted to be masters of their own destiny. The British empire was naturally the focus of that struggle, and when we were rid of them in 1947, the relief must have been enormous. The tragedy is that for most Indians, political independence was freedom enough. What else was there to fight for?
Discussions about sustainability in developed countries like Australia would revolve around the issue of decreasing economic growth and possible decrease in prosperity. In countries like India the issue itself is basic economic growth; the challenge of poverty and the provisions of essential services.
Sustainability issues are not the same everywhere and solutions need to match the local/global balance.
…Satellite television is beaming urban India’s new cravings and anxieties into Umred’s living rooms. Relatives who migrated to cities are returning home with tales of lucrative jobs and trendy nightclubs. The Internet has emboldened the young to hunt beyond the town for jobs, life partners and ideas….
“Electricity is essential to ambition,” said Ravindra Misal, the 26-year-old owner of an English-language academy here, “because I need it to do my homework, I need it to listen to music if I am a dancer, I need it to listen to tapes of great speakers, I need it to surf the Internet… But I cannot, so people get angry. They have bigger expectations, but electricity is becoming a hurdle on their path.”
Atanu Dey writes about the need for economic freedom identifying the three most important areas to concentrate on for India.
Quoting Galbraith; Atanu suggests the need for change should come from the people.
John Kenneth Galbraith in an interview to Outlook in 2001 said, “that the progress of India did not depend on the government, as important as that might be, but was enormously dependent on the initiative, individual and group – of the Indian people. I feel the same way now (as I did some forty years ago) but I would even emphasise it more. We’ve seen many years of Indian progress, and that is attributable to the energy and genius of the Indian people and the Indian culture.”
The Three priorities:
I think that the three most broadly defined critical sectors where liberalization is a must are infrastructure, energy and education. Currently they are the brakes and they have the potential to be the engines of growth.
Energy independence is possible…Solar power research and development is costly but the paybacks are enormous because once developed the technology has immense returns on investment. India can be a solar power superpower…Infrastructure can gain from privatization. Roads, ports, airports, and railroads. I think the emphasis has to be on a modern efficient fast rail transportation system…Finally education. The world of the past was essentially static compared to today’s world… A centrally controlled education system could have served a limited purpose in a static world but in a dynamic world it is impossible for the old education system.