CRITICAL ISSUE

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 18 Feb 2018 09:13:50

PRIME Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has raised a long-pending critical issue as regards environment -- failure of advanced nations to abide their commitment to the joint cause of protecting environment. Picking up this issue to be highlighted at the World Sustainable Development in New Delhi, Mr. Modi made it clear that India did not budge from its commitment to the joint cause of environment while most other nations remained bogged down by many inconvenient truths about implementation of a common agenda. His assertion, of course, has a strong foundation of good results India has achieved in terms of environmental conservation.

Just recently, a status report demonstrated that India’s forest and tree cover has gone up by one per cent and that is expected to expand further in the coming years. Also, the National Geographic Greendex Report of 2014 ranked India at the top for the greenest consumption pattern. This study assesses environmental sustainability of consumer choice, and has appreciated the successful Indian effort. Various other studies, too, have recognised the transparency and sincerity of Indian environmental initiatives over time.

Standing on that strong foundation, Mr. Modi, therefore, made the assertion that India would stand committed to protecting environmental interests at all costs, but other nations are floundering in that regard. The Prime Minister made this suggestion even in his speech at the World Economic Forum at Davos a few weeks ago, almost accusing advanced nations of ignoring a critical global issue just for the sake of face-saving. In fact, India has been insisting upon an actionable commitment on the part of advanced nations in terms of environmental conservation, protection of ozone layer, carbon footprint and green audit as a global agenda. Though the advanced nations seem to agree with the Indian standpoint, their actions, however, do not match their verbal statements. The Prime Minister has pointed to this flaw once again, in his speech at the World Sustainable Development Summit.

The manner in which advanced nations respond to environmental issues also shows how they respond to many other issues pertaining to global economic concerns including growing unemployment due to excessive automation through robotic revolution. It has become obvious to the world that advanced nations are unwilling to make any positive changes in their policies and approaches to such issues. At Davos, for the past two years, the global concern of growing unemployment is being voiced. Yet, advanced nations are unwilling to reconsider their own stress on excessive automation that replaces human labour with machines. Similar indifference is seen also in case of environmental issues when it comes to advanced nations.

The Prime Minister’s stress has been that advanced nations must share their latest technology with the rest of the world so that the fight to safeguard environment could be won. Yet, advanced nations are failing on two counts: Technology-sharing and introduction of industrial discipline so that environment stands protected at all places. India’s insistence is upon just and even application of the global commitment.