Development for whom?


  “Waqt ne mano rafter si pakad li thi….

Naye karkhane lagaye jaa rahe the….

Aisa manjr shayad hi kabhi in logon ne dekha hoga….

Par ek aur dar unko andar hi andar sata raha tha…

ki kya hamara ghar ab hamara naheen rahega?”

The above quotes in Hindi represents the classic dilemma faced by majority of Indians among vulnerable sections. On one hand lies the opportunity which can bring about dramatic changes in their existing lifestyle. Ramu will no longer remain confined to agriculture chores. He starts envisioning his new future working in a industry and ensuring better lifestyle for his family. Whereas another fear continues to hound him. Whether I will be insulated from my homeland? What about the cattle farm which has provided generation of my family livelihood support? What about the temple in which I have dreamt of marrying my daughter etc. and many more.

The key objective of this article is to analyze our current development paradigm and the impact of the same on multiple stakeholders. Gandhiji envisioned the concept of Sarvodaya and self sufficiency. He daily spurn Charkha for portraying the importance of self reliance. Even his concept of Indian development was based on empowerment and self sufficiency of Villages. Every village must seek its own salvation via indigenous resources and locally available HR. However, post independence developmental aspects have undergone sea change and era post 1991 reforms represents a story contradicting the Gandhian notion of development.

# Key issues

Recent changes in land acquisition act spurred a controversial debate around the must totuted question of “Development for whom?” It has been alleged that steps of introducing exceptional cases seeking 80% consent and weeding out the proposal of Social Impact Assessment is an attempt to snatch away the rights of vulnerable class in interest of corporate class. Further, recommendations from HLC under former cabinet secretary for reviewing the environmental laws has drawn sharp criticism from civil society groups. It has been alleged that amendments are an attempt to create single Environmental Management Act subsuming multiple other acts existing in current domain. It is being said that it is a deliberate attempt to fast track environmental clearance at the cost of environment per se.

What haunts me and confuses me is whether everyone has a different story of development? Whether bureaucratic tendencies towards development remain absolutely contrary to common man’s perspective? In layman terms, answer to the above question lies in affirmative. As said by Herbert Simon, individuals are rational beings having significant inclination towards self interest. Everyone wants to progress, creates his own distinct image and ensure better living conditions for his family. But when we talk of development of India as a whole then our attempt should be to analyze the crisis in macroscopic domain.


# Probable Solutions

In accordance with common goods perspective, few have to sacrifice for ensuring the development of majority of community. It is in the deep intricacies of this sacrifice lies the solution for our current dilemma. Any rational man would argue, Why me or why among the population of millions I should sacrifice? Above paragraph will be an attempt to analyze the finer nuances of our dilemma under discussion.

According to spatial analysis, bulks of minerals are located under a confined zone of central India. Moreover any proposal of setting up Industry would require land acquisition and human rehabilitation. Schemes like SEZ in past and Make in India campaign represent the attempt by executive to bring India on development trajectory and create more employment opportunities. Thus we may establish consensus on at least one aspect that India needs development. But concomitantly we must acknowledge the prospects of displaced population. Single minded agenda of pursuing development by unprecedented cutting of forest, overtaking agricultural lands etc. remains unjustified. There has to be a benchmark or standard beyond which we cannot exploit natural resources. Proposal of isolating 5% multi cropped area present in Land Acquisition Act represents one such empathetic introduction.

If the displaced population is not provided due compensation, alternative rehabilitation sites and employment opportunities, the very act of Indian development agenda would go in contrary direction. Extremism, Naxalism etc. penetrate under similar conditions of exploitation and hatred against state per se. Hence, on one hand I duly support the current govt. move of fast tracking project proposals and introducing certain exceptions, I remain equally opposed to current compensation regime. As discussed in introductory paragraph, Ramu’s world not only included farm land but also the dream of marrying his daughter, cultural affinity with soil and other emotional aspects linked with human per se. Hence, compensation in such issues must go beyond the rate of land acquired by making MNC accountable to domestic region interest, ensuring ease of resettlement and providing due employment opportunities.

I remember, my father telling me during my childhood days that we cannot progress by stepping at the grave of others. I do realize that statement remains true especially in current controversies linked with development. India does not need development but it needs Inclusive development as has been discussed in my previous article also. Only the combined synergy of all the sections of our society will aid in realizing our aim of global super power.


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