IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 1st Sep 2020
There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.– Paulo Coelho
EDITORIAL HUNT #119 :“Environmental Issues and Forest Rights“
Environmental Issues and Forest Rights
Jayanthi Natarajan is a political activist and a former Union Environment Minister
The environment is a national issue
To view environment protection through an ideological or political lens will only spell its doom
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : 3 : Deforestation : Forest Rights : Decentralisation
There is a critical need to harmonize the working of the central, State, and local governments on environmental issues and forest rights . Discuss -(GS 3)
- Latest Report EPI 2020
- Way a head . Let us dive in !
Environment issues are currently at the centre of a heated debate.
- UNPLEASANT NUMBERS: To express shock at India being ranked at “177 out of 180 countries” in the Environmental Performance Index Report.
- RECENT RANKING : In the June 2020 EPI Index, India’s rank stands improved at 168, not 177 which is the 2018 rank.
- MESSAGE CONVEYED : Thereby giving a message opposite to that sought to be conveyed, regarding our standing at 177 in 2018.
- Any balance between the environment and development needs to be struck within India and based on our priorities, and not some international index.
- CRONY CAPITALISM : Preoccupation with “crony capitalism” and implementing “ease of doing business” to the detriment of the environment is hazardous.
- UNREASONABLE LINKS : The link between the great winter smog and pollution in North India, and the present draft EIA draft is not reasonable.
- DIFFERENT STANDS : In point of fact, the winter smog and pollution in North India exemplify the anomalies of federalism, where the imperatives of the Centre and States differ.
- LAWS IN LINE : There are also problems of environmental laws which are effective in principle, against point sources like industries.
- LAWS OUT OF THE BOX : But there are no such rules against agriculture-related pollution such as stubble burning or public usage pollution relating to vehicular and household sources.
- STATE SUBJECT : ‘Forests’ was a State subject until transferred to the Concurrent list by the 42nd Amendment Act.
However, de facto, the powers of the State governments continue, which is why, State governments hesitate to fully implement the Forest Rights Act.
FOCUS ON DEFORESTATION
- CONCERNS : Deforestation ought to be a primary concern of any right-thinking government.
- CLEARANCES : Forest clearances for mining and industries, while major, are not the only causes of deforestation.
- DEMOGRAPHIC PRESSURE : Population pressure due to which the slash-and-burn (or jhoom cycle) has reduced in forest areas from 17-20 years to two-three years giving no time for forest regeneration.
- LAND DIVERSION : Creeping conversion of forest to cultivated land are both major drivers of deforestation.
- TIMBER DEMAND : There is also the increasing use of timber for household and industry purposes.
- NIRMAL GANGA : ‘Nirmal Ganga’ can be achieved by zero discharge of effluents and domestic sewerage.
- AVIRAL GANGA : But ‘Aviral Ganga’ can only be achieved by constant balancing between irrigation needs of agriculture and potable water for cities on the one hand and the environmental flow of the river on the other.
- The balance of imperatives between the environment and poverty eradication has to be acheived.
- To address environment protection from the standpoint of ideological or political mooring is to sound the death knell of our environment.
- The environment is a national issue which requires the unwavering participation of all governments, and all citizens, regardless of political affiliation.
SOURCES: THE HINDU EDITORIAL HUNT | Environmental Issues and Forest Rights