DMPQ- “ We have recently witnessed many environmental challenges arising in India’s infrastructural projects.” Elucidate the statement by citing recent examples.

. A still larger issue now emerging is the environmental issues, erosion of forest cover, etc,  around the infrastructure projects. The present issues being faced in Orissa and other  states on projects which can not only alter the face of the state but also the nation in terms  of economic development need deeper introspection.

The environmental issues raised on companies such as POSCO and the Vedanta Group  in Orissa may deny an investment   opportunity’   in the   state   of   over ₹60,000 crores which has   the   potential   to transform   Orissa   from   being a   backward to a   progressive state. Similarly, stalling the Lavasa project in Maharashtra, is a myopic view’ by the government  as it has the potential to redefine the urban development and probably post-construction  would be extremely environment-friendly more than any other city in the country. The Prime Minister has indicated that there should be a balance between the two  aspects. However, development should be a prime concern clearly as it involves the people,  means of livelihood for them as fundamentally more important today.

India has myriads of issues of unemployment, acute backwardness of states, development  deficit, investment deficit, development divide across many states and such other divides.  If it is possible for the private/foreign players to provide answers for such divides, their  projects should be encouraged rather than discouraged and a way out found for them. This is a government-related issue of being short sighted in the guise of environmental  issues, over-looking positive and tangible welfare gains for the states and the country as  a whole.

India, thus, has a number of infrastructural related issues, which will solely get compounded with increased intensity as the growth levels begin to accelerate and also with  the growing population exerting greater pressure on the infrastructure. The government can also consider of having a separate budget for infrastructure. The  railway budget could constitute a part of this budget allowing for greater complementarity  between various sectors of infrastructure.  There is a need for a greater broad-based discussion on the imperatives of infrastructure  in future as otherwise it will become a limiting factor for growth.

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