Showing posts with the label Environment

Understanding the AAP Phenomenon in Indian Politics

There is too much deliberation and discussion on what to make of the Aam Aadmi Party in the Indian political scenario. The problem with this discussion for me lies at several loose ends, none of which are tight enough to enable the curious onlooker any sense of the party and its moorings. My own two bits of 'wisdom' stem from distant viewing of the phenomenon. I may certainly be wrong; I may be right. But it is my submission that when seen from these perspectives, AAP and what it stands for can be perhaps better understood. AAP behaves not so much as a political party as it does like a Non Governmental Organization (NGO). This stems from the fact that most people who lead it have been associated with think tanks, NGOs and academia, and a major part of the base comprises of volunteers who have spared time for several causes close to their hearts. Even the campaign for Delhi's assembly elections ran more in the mode of a social enterprise networking with a large ma

When Solutions Become Problems

For some time now there has been talk about how indoor air pollution kills more people than anything else in the world, and how this is prevalent in rural India. A lot of it has been attributed to cookstoves, and while it is true that they are a major cause, the solutions that have been bandied about for some time now are all in the same direction. Let us improve the cookstoves is the unanimous voice that resonates across the world. But there seems to be more to it than this. A recent paper by Esther Duflo, Rema Hanna and Michael Greenstone has been doing rounds for a while now. For those who have seen the program upfront as well as others who are familiar with it, the paper seems to have confirmed the worst - the problem of women's health in rural areas has not been mitigated in any way. The paper goes on to highlight how the distribution of cookstoves has been an abysmal failure because people stop using them within a year. Why is it so? The question does not have a difficult

Carbon Tax and all that.....

Well I was at an event today (I will not say where) and I was hearing these two Australians talk about the carbon tax debate that has split Australia right down the middle. It was a fascinating discussion as I overheard them, as they kept saying that it was about a terrible goof-up and a media fiasco of the Australian federal government that led to this mess in the country. To hear people discuss the impact of green issues on national politics was both an assuring as well as a scary prospect. It was assuring to see how Australia's national debate has been revolving around green issues. This is not to belittle other issues, but countries with such unique environment as Australia should certainly be discussing environmental issues with increasing realization that all issues of development come back and link to the issues of the environment. Moreover, what impressed me even more was the fact that some of those very eager to see the tax to be brought in were entrepreneurs who see it a

2G - Paryavaran Bhavan Holds the Key

It has taken a while to come out, but the 2G spectrum scam has just cast a wider net. Puzzled as the four of us who read this blog may be about what has Paryavaran Bhavan, the office of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) got to do with the 2G spectrum scandal, the truth is far deeper than most of us, including even those fighting cases for getting top ministers investigated (pointed reference Subramanian Swamy) have perhaps imagined. The whole scam actually started with Mr. Andimuthu Raja becoming Minister of Environment in 2004. The period between 2004-2007 should be marked as one of the darkest chapters in the history of environmental governance in India. A lot of companies got clearances in ways that could make Somalia look like it adheres to law and order. Cronyism was at its peak. Clearances, officers, project reports - name any item, and it was bought and sold. Most of the controversial mining that has since been brought to the public notice obtained clearances duri