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The committee cop-out

Apr 02, 2013

The Indian government seems to resolve all contentious issues related to environment and economic growth by setting up more committees, writes Milind Wani who works with Kalpavriksh-Environment Action Group.

Forests

The Indian government seems to think that all contentious issues related to economic development which involve natural resource systems can be resolved by setting up committees whose panel members -- drawn largely from the bureaucracy and urban elite -- dictate what they think is best for the nation. The Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI), the committee headed by Pulok Chatterjee (the prime minister’s principal secretary) and the committee under Planning Commission member are cases in point.

The creation of the CCI, an initiative of the finance ministry, that is in the offing (with the blessings of the Prime Minister’s Office \[PMO]) to hasten environmental and forest clearance for projects, will render the environment minister completely powerless and the environment ministry superfluous. The minister for environment had indeed written to the prime minister expressing her “very serious concern” at the setting up of the CCI to provide fast-track clearances for major infrastructure projects, saying that the “concept is unacceptable”.

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SOURCE: Infochange

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