Green Governance: The Missing Mandate in Election Manifestos

Dr. Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao

Elections during the scorching summer time are in a way a blessing for voters to confront the politicians with their daily problems of water supply and other basic health needs. It also gave, in way, the chance to the contesting candidates to know the pulse of the voters during the unbearable atmosphere and their reactions to the demands of people. To grab the votes all political parties are guaranteeing the women centric freebies as they are seen as committed voters on freebie offer. The manifestos of all the parties are full of competitive freebies aiming at the short term political gain while ignoring the issues of long term impact especially issue of environment protection.
While women are enjoying the pensions, free rations, free-bus rides etc., the same women are suffering by spending huge amount of time in procuring few pots of water for the family and spend more time in attending to the sick family members. The frequency ofsickness in the families increased due to the polluted air, water and chemically treated food items.
The governments, instead of promising to supply clean water and pure air, are offering free medical treatment to the sick. Thus the basic cause of suffering is not addressed but superficial solutions are implemented in the form of various schemes. The people’s representatives receiving a cut in the allocated social welfare funds is no secret. No political party ever took protection of the environment seriously so far. On the other hand they joined hand with illegal, greedy over exploiting groups through lax environmental laws. Either the political parties are ignorant of the importance of environmental balance are more interested in the money, once in power, ignoring the long term negative impact on the country’s progress and human sufferings.
Many international reports warned India with the impending catastrophe through the climate change and global warming. The consequences are on social, economic as well health. While we are aiming at super power status by the 100thIndependence Dayin 2047, the World Bank report 2019 warned us of likely situation of severe climatic hotspots formation in India by 2050 hitting 148 millions of this country. The melting of Himalayan glaciers, the environmental destruction in the ‘DevBhoomi’. Uttarakhand is visible. The massive floods, rivers changing the course are causing permanent damage to the Gangetic plains. If the ‘destructive developmental spree’ continues the area becomes unlivable for over 300 millions people abetting the Ganges, warned one such report.
Climatic impact, experienced through unusual extreme temperature, predicted hot waves impacting the health and productivity of the Indian workforce is estimated to be very high. Extreme weather conditions are impacting the health. Delhi is declared the top polluting city, the Bangalore city is experiencing the unprecedented water shortage. We are losing forests, we are losing the fertile agricultural land and through anthropogenic activity India is becoming unsafe even for the animals. The IUCN figures present the increased number of endangered species in India.
The Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Report of 2024 has stated that itd monetary policy also faced the climate challenge with the frequency of and ferocity of weather shocks. The policy identified the climate change impacting the inflation through adverse weather events affecting the agricultural production and global supply chains. It further conceded the likely weakening of the transmission of monetary policy actions to financing conditions faced by households and firms. No section of the society is left unaffected in some of or other and everyone needs some sort of relief through the governmental policies.
And that is what exactly what Supreme Court three judge bench said in its ruling given recently. It ruled that “Right against adverse effects of climate change part of rights to life, equality”, thus expanded the scope of Articles 14 and 21. The SC has reminded the government of Art. 48A which mentioned the State’s endeavor to protect and improve the forests and wildlife of the country. It also reminded the citizens their duty to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion to the living creatures as said through the clause G of Article 51A of Indian constitution.
Unfortunately these alarming reports, court observations and judgments seems to have not impacted the political class. Not many parties uttered a word on ‘Green’ in their manifestos. The parties talk about the economic growth and top economic position in the world, top position in the ease of doing business index, distributing freebies and more to certain communities to build vote banks, but they fail to realize that they are aiming at their popularity and positions at the cost of environment and people’s health. Our environmental performance rank is steadily going down.
Can a country which has already lost 25-30% through degradation and heading for desertification and having already having over 65 blocks water stressed, pollution getting worsened ever have sustainable growth?
In a democracy they say people get the government they deserve and unless the Indians leave their many other difference, based on religion, caste, region, language, and take on the political parties cashing on the division in society not only their own future but even the country’s standing in the comity of nations go down. The green agitations are not fancy of the educated but environment is everybody’s concern. The educated should educate the masses on environmental issues and through them force the parties to include the environmental protective agenda into their politics. It is an immediate necessity and let us make 2024 as the year of such beginning as the current elections are fortunately, for voters, scheduled in the summer.

Related Articles

Back to top button