Goa: Surging Tourists and Dwindling Beauty

By Akshat Jain, Madras School of Economics, Tamil Nadu.

Anna decided to quit her desk job in UK in 2012 and become a digital nomad permanently living in Goa. She was amazed by the sun-kissed beaches, vibrant environment and the multi-cultural society of Goa. Like Anna, thousands of foreign tourists come to the “Rome of the East” every year, seeking an experience of a lifetime. Goa has been a top tourist destination in India for both foreign as well as domestic travelers for decades. Since 2012, as per the data issued by the Department of Tourism in Goa, there has been an increase of 187% in the total number of tourists in the State. Such an exponential rise in the popularity of the State among tourists has harmed its environment and has disturbed the ecological balance. The serene beaches are now muddled with plastic and used bottles. Amid the generation of more than 7 million tonnes of waste per year, Goa has now declared a war on pollution by pledging to go plastic-free by the year 2022. (more…)

One Stop Centres: A well intentioned Scheme gone awry?

By Ria Goyal, Ambedkar University, Delhi.

The One Stop Centre Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. One Stop Centres set up under this initiative  are to be funded from the INR 1000 Crore Nirbhaya Fund which was set up in 2013 to fund various schemes related to women’s safety. These OSCs are meant to provide integrated support and assistance under one roof, to women who have experienced violence in the public or private spheres like family, community or workspace. The violence can be of any kind, including physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or economic abuse, and women are to be provided integrated support regardless of their age, class, caste, education status, marital status, race, and culture. Such support includes access to a range of services like medical, legal, psychological and counseling support. Further, women facing violence in the form of attempted sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking, honor related crimes, acid attacks or witch-hunting, who approach the OSC, are entitled to the provision of specialized services. (more…)

Milking the Symbiosis Dry: Ecological Damage of the Dairy Industry in India

By Ishita Puri, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai

Fritjof Capra, in his book The Systems View of Life remarked “As the twenty-first century unfolds, it is becoming more and more evident that the major problems of our time – energy, the environment, climate change, food security, financial security – cannot be understood in isolation. They are systemic problems, which means that they are all interconnected and interdependent.” His assessment of ecological issues and conservation could not have been more accurate. No effective solution can be realised if humanity continues to view the ecological issues of Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, exploitation of animals and poverty alleviation in vacuum. (more…)

The curious case of Punjab Preservation of Subsoil Water Act, 2009 and Air Pollution

By Akshat Jain, Madras School of Economics, Tamil Nadu.

India is going through a period that can be regarded as its worst environmental crisis. The air quality index in India is worsening with every passing day. 7 of the world’s 10 most polluted cities are in India. Many reasons have been cited for the plummeting Air Quality Index in north Indian cities; the most prominent amongst which is the burning of the stubble by farmers in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. In Punjab alone, which accounts for more than 50% of cases of stubble burning during the Diwali period, there have been 48,155 recorded cases of stubble burning from September to November, 2019.  (more…)

The Steel Scrap Policy: India’s way to a greener tomorrow?

By Ananya Kanth, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

There are iconic steel structures around the world-buildings that soar to record heights, bridges that span the widest rivers, iconic landmarks in our own country  like the Howrah Bridge, Vidyasagar Setu, Jogighopa rail-cum-road bridge, to name a few, which are steel intensive state-of-the-art constructions that stand testimony to the importance of steel for a country. Since independence, steel has contributed largely to the industrial development in our country and thus is an important component for a strong economy.  (more…)

Rusting of a ‘migrant’ magnet: The severe ecological consequences of population influx on Delhi-NCR

By Shaunak Kishor Tapaskar, National Rail & Transportation Institute, Vadodara.

Migration is considered as a prime feature of today’s globalized world. People migrate from their places of origin to aspire for a safe and better future. In India, especially in its National Capital Region (NCR), we come across a similar phenomenon. NCR is the world’s largest urban agglomeration (UA) with a population of about 46 million. This region comprises of prominent cities like Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, and Ghaziabad. Among them, Delhi is the most populous with 18.6 million people and is also known as the National Capital Territory (NCT). Delhi’s booming services economy and its hegemony as the city with the highest per capita income in India makes it the migrant magnet. According to the 2011 census, nearly 40% of Delhi’s population comprised of outside individuals, which is the largest share among Indian cities, making it the ‘migrant capital’ of India. It also has the second largest population for inter-state migration, trailing only behind the state of Maharashtra. In Delhi, more than 75% of the total migrants are from the two states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Among the Indian states, the share of migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand towards Delhi and its surrounding NCR consistently increased between 1991 and 2011. (more…)

The Rivers of My Home: A take on the MoU Signing of Bangladesh and India, and what it may mean for the future of the two nations

By Twinkle Jaspal, Amity Institute of Anthropology, NOIDA.

(Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi)

On October 5, 2019, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the countries of Bangladesh and India which was a revision and sanctioning of the water ties between the two, including the most attention-drawing decision to release 1.82 cusecs (cubic feet per second) of water from the Feni river to India for a drinking water supply scheme for Sabroom town in Tripura. As part of the memorandum, India is also now allowed to monitor the ports of Bangladesh. (more…)

Water Law Reform: A Necessity?

By Shashank Shekhar Shukla, Banaras Hindu University, Uttar Pradesh.

Water is the most critical resource issue of our lifetime and our children’s lifetime. The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land.”

Our Constitution contains several provisions regarding water. Water is a State subject covered under the seventh schedule of our Constitution. Article 51A(g) provides that it will be a fundamental duty of every Indian citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including lakes and rivers. Article 39(b) of the Constitution casts a duty on the State to direct its policy towards ensuring that the “ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good”. Article 47 provides that improvement in public health will be the duty of the State. Our Supreme Court has declared the right to access to clean water as part of the fundamental rights under Article 21. (more…)

Need for new Environmental Laws in India LQF

Need for a new Environment Protection Legislation?

By Sarthak Kanoria, Christ Church College, Kanpur.

Gandhi’s saying, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed” is highly relevant today, in comparison to the time when he said it. The progress made by India in the economic sphere is overshadowed by the deterioration in the quality of its environment. The health emergency recently declared in Delhi aptly signifies the seriousness of the problem we as a nation are facing because of pollution. (more…)

coastal zone LQF

Coastal Regulation Zones and Economic Development: Is Ecological Dilution the Cost of Progress?

By Debarati Choudhury, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad.

Story So Far:

The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification of 2019 has cleared the way for commercialisation and development projects in Mumbai, while racing towards a more vulnerable ecology. The proposal of lifting restrictions from over 6,070 kilometres of the coastline for commercial activities has rung alarms with many. According to the Government, “The proposed CRZ notification 2018 will lead to enhanced activities in the coastal regions thereby promoting economic growth while also respecting the conservation principles of coastal regions.” While this might seem like a win-win situation, environmentalists are wary that this will selectively benefit only a small section, and adversely affect all coastal communities through predictable yet inevitable weather changes and a steep rise in  sea level. (more…)