Governance | Centre for Science and Environment

Governance


From protests to where in 2012?

2011’s person of the year, according to Time magazine, is “the protester”. Clearly, this is the image that has captured the world—from dissent against the lack of democracy and repression in large parts of West Asia to anger against economic policies in vast and disparate parts of the world. People, all over, are saying enough is enough. But what will happen to these voices in the coming years? Will the movements of protesters be enough to change the way the world runs its business? Do these movements even know what they want?

The big idea for change: bamboo as grass

“Stroke of the pen” reform is critical as in many cases policy is dastardly and change is laggardly. The essential element is to find that big-ticket item that can have impact on a scale and at a pace that is needed. I believe Union environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh’s letter addressed to all chief ministers clarifying that bamboo is indeed a grass and not timber, is such an item.

Coke in hot water

The Kerala High Court has ordered status quo to be maintained on the cancellation of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Limited's licence to operate its bottling plant at Plachimada in Kerala. The licence had been cancelled by the Perumatty gram panchayat in Palakkad district of Kerala, following complaints that the company was creating water scarcity in the area by overexploiting groundwater.

Battle for the Internet

By Latha Jishnu and Arnab Pratim Dutta

As the Internet turns into the public square and the marketplace of our world, it is increasingly becoming a contested terrain. Governments, corporations and even seemingly innocuous social networking sites want to control and influence the way it operates 

Think differently, Mr Finance Minister

As I write this piece, the finance minister has dispatched the Union Budget 2011. The press is busy reflecting the views of business and industry lobbies, as they quibble over duty exemptions, insist on financial stimulus and other incentives, and cry for big-ticket reform—foreign direct investment in retail and insurance. The only other discussion is about the growing fiscal deficit: will the finance minister give in to populism while extending the programmes for the poor? Or will he raise taxes to pay for the growing developmental needs of the country? The finance minister, it would seem, is caught between two battles: of checking the bulge in fiscal irresponsibility and of meeting the need for delivering governance.

How to approach environmentalism

By: Sunita Narain

2010 was a loud year for the environment. High profile projects—from Vedanta to Posco and Navi Mumbai airport to Lavasa—hit the headlines for non-compliance with environmental regulations.

While 2009 was the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy, it was only last year that we were all outraged by the disaster. The realisation of how every institution—the judiciary, parliament and government— had miserably failed to provide justice to the victims shocked us deeply.

How to approach environmentalism

2010 was a loud year for the environment. High profile projects—from Vedanta to Posco and Navi Mumbai airport to Lavasa—hit the headlines for non-compliance with environmental regulations. While 2009 was the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy, it was only last year that we were all outraged by the disaster. The realisation of how every institution—the judiciary, parliament and government— had miserably failed to provide justice to the victims shocked us deeply.

Rubber stamp authority

by Ashutosh Mishra, Nidhi Jamwal, Sujit Kumar Singh, Aparna Pallavi and Ruhi Kandhari

Chhattisgarh announced a proposed investment of more than Rs 1,77,000 crore in the state. Until October 2008, it had signed over a hundred MOUs with companies like Jindals, Tata Steel and Essar. After a couple of months of this announcement, a bureaucrat heading the state environment regulatory body resigned.

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