Bengaluru : Historian Ramachandra Guha on Saturday said the environment has borne the brunt of liberalization in India. “Liberalization led to more jobs, new ideas and higher foreign exchange. However, the mining boom also resulted in river pollution and tribal displacement. There were no Naxals in Odisha before,” he said.
Addressing a conference at the Indian Institute of Management – Bangalore, Guha said, “Liberalization meant having to remove regulations in many sectors, but ideally they should have been strengthened for the environment. It was in the rational interest of a firm to pollute a river because somebody else was bearing the cost,” he said. The country’s third wave of environmentalism, starting 25 years after India embarked on the process of economic liberalization, will need to have social activism, community work and scientific research as its three pillars, he said.
Akshaya Patra chairman Madhu Pandit Das warned against blind imitation of western models of growth, which had come at the cost of the environment. “India urgently needs an indigenous sustainability model, in harmony with its economy, society and culture. Such a holistic growth model can help India evolve into a vibrant nation, if not a superpower,” he added.