Expectations are high, perhaps too high, as the 14th Conference of the Parties (CoP 14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), now into the third day of its two-week session, is being held outside the smog-filled Indian capital of New Delhi.
“We worked for the poor and they voted us back to power,” was the explanation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi made to newly-elected legislators on Saturday, May 25, on the spectacular win scored by his nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India’s just concluded general elections.
At New Delhi’s Savda Ghevra slum settlement, waterborne diseases have become less frequent thanks to solar-powered water ATMs that were installed here as a social enterprise venture three years ago.
Countries do not have to be economically prosperous to move from a situation of high birth and death rates to low fertility and mortality rates.
Education, social security, environments conducive to economic development and good value systems are what promote this, as evidenced by the recorded experiences of Asian countries as far apart as Japan and India.
With India’s citizens clamouring for breathable air and efficient energy options, the country’s planners are more receptive than ever to explore sustainable development options, says Frank Rijsberman, Director-General of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).
A spate of sudden infant deaths following vaccination in India has prompted leading paediatricians to call for stronger regulatory mechanisms to evaluate new vaccines for safety and efficacy before their acceptance into the national immunisation programme.
Activists opposed to India’s plans to massively increase civilian nuclear power production are aghast that a plan for an Indo-Japanese nuclear cooperation deal is gaining pace even while Japan is struggling to cope with the fallout of the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Food security activists who secured a moratorium on introducing genetically modified brinjal (aubergine) into India fear that their efforts are being undermined by the release of GM brinjal in neighbouring Bangladesh.
As India grapples with rising prices and a rapidly sinking rupee, attention has turned to the country's massive parallel economy that siphons wealth away from development programmes and into the pockets of a corrupt ruling elite.
Every winter the Okhla wetlands, a charmed haven in the heart of India’s bustling capital city, play host to Greater Flamingoes, Greylag Geese, Tufted Pochards, Northern Shovelers and other exotic, feathered visitors winging in from colder climes as far away as Siberia.
As managing director of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED), India’s apex agriculture marketing organisation, Sanjeev Chopra is in the thick of planned legislation to cover 800 million Indians under the world’s biggest food subsidy programme.
As India’s Parliament prepares to pass a bill to provide heavily subsidised food to 810 million people, there are misgivings over its implementation through a notoriously corrupt public distribution system (PDS).
India’s environmental and food security activists who have so far succeeded in stalling attempts to introduce genetically modified (GM) food crops into this largely farming country now find themselves up against a bill in parliament that could criminalise such opposition.
For years India’s pro-liberalisation, Congress party-led coalition government chafed at civil society groups getting in the way of grand plans to boost growth through the setting up of mega nuclear power parks, opening up the vast mineral-rich tribal lands to foreign investment and selling off public assets.
Harsh police handling of public protests erupting across India over a spate of sensational rapes since December has resulted in renewed demands to reform a force that retains the repressive features of its colonial origins.
India’s planners worry about ‘jobless growth’, but perhaps nothing illustrates this phenomenon better than a policy of handing over the collection and disposal of the capital’s refuse to large private corporations, leaving close to 50,000 ragpickers unemployed.
Bhagwat Singh Gohil frets for the future of his bountiful orchards in Mithi Virdi village in western Gujarat state’s coastal district Bhavnagar. “After contending with droughts, rough seas and earthquakes we are staring at the possibility of a man-made disaster in the shape of a nuclear power park.”
After one of the six males under trial for the rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old woman was deemed an adolescent and therefore entitled to leniency, juvenile rights activists have found themselves pitted against irate members of the public demanding death sentences for all the perpetrators.
When India was admitted to the world’s nuclear power industry nearly five years ago, many believed that this country had found a way to quickly wean itself away from dependence on coal and other fossil fuels that power its economic growth.
While India has drastically reduced the spread of HIV over the past decade, new strains of the virus that cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) are troubling medical scientists in this country.
One day after voting against a United Nations General Assembly draft resolution seeking to abolish the death penalty, India executed Pakistani national Mohammad Ajmal Kasab for the November 2008 terror rampage in Mumbai that left 166 people dead.