Environment Protection Laws and Aatma Nirbhar Bharat: COVID-19 Lessons

With the Modi 2.0 pushing ahead with its COVID-19 rehabilitation strategy by seeking to woo corporates of Korea, America, Europe, and Japan to invest in ‘Make in India’ after the dragon let loose the coronavirus, the global supply chains being disrupted, and the nation staring a massive economic fallout is a reality due to the global slowdown.

The reality is possibly that many people will loose their livelihoods and jobs in the process of unlocking the lockdown imposed by the COVID-19.

This is the truth of our world, and we will have to accept the fact that all is not well and might not turn out to be well in the near future. On a long-term, we are looking at the economy moving sluggishly in the two upcoming financial years and by the end of FY-22 there is some expectation that growth might pick up.

It is in this backdrop that the government of India is pushing ahead with its plan to push for mass and rapid industrialisation of the Indian economy. The move is certainly good, and this will obviously help in reducing dependence of imports and offer more livelihoods.
But at what cost?

Pollution and climate change are real:

During the global lockdown we saw the nature coming to a blind bloom, and the average temperatures lowering down, and the air becoming sweeter than usual. The skies were clear and the wildlife dwellers were at large! How did this happen?

It is because all the place of the world and all of human activity was slow, it was rather simply put 0, and the nature healed itself. During the period when the industries were shut, the water-bodies changed their colour and odour. Is it not meaningful to the smartest of creatures of the nature’s world?

Today the PM is pushing for radical industrialisation and he is saying “People, Planet, Profit”, now not many industries care about the environment. The environment protection laws are just a facade right from the Environment Protection and Control Act to Air Pollution, Water Pollution and Mining laws.

The district courts are not empowered to deal with environmental hazards by industries, and the mindless tree felling will also be the outcome of industrialisation. While we merely give lip-service to aforestation.

Our rivers and water bodies are a home to industrial discharge from industries. This needs priority investment from the private sector, but does it ring any bells?

In keeping the Sustainable Development Goals, and reducing our carbon footprint, we are not looking at more clean energy.

All these factors with lackadaisical implementation of environment related laws and abolishing of the Environmental Impact Assessment, things will turn too bad for all of us.

The NGT is stuck with the LG Polymers gas leakage, and the Tinsukhia Fire, what if there are sporadical cases all over?

We need to push ahead with more environment jurisprudence percolating down to district fora, and a green police that keeps a tab on environmental hazards while we push ahead with mass movement to make India “Aatma Nirbhar” .

Our lessons from COVID-19 must not make us more aggressively greedy for material gain but instill a feeling that we need to live in harmony with nature, and offer more life to our generations yet to come.