India has made definite strides in development and economic growth since independence. If GDP is any indicator, this growth is enviable; with a rise from 3% GDP in 1950 to 9% in 2009. The declared ambition of the government is to make this 10.5% by the end of 12th Plan.
The largest majority of Indians, however, see a different nation, one in which 35% of Indians are below the poverty line; 49% do not have toilets (they defecate in the open); 21 lakhs children below five years die every year out of diarrhoea, typhoid, malaria, measles and pneumonia; 1000 children die every year out of diarrhoea alone; 426 lakhs people live in slums; 276 lakhs do not have a house to dwell in; and where farmers commit suicide due to debt–traps–as many as 2,16,500 committed suicide from 1997 to 2009.
The type of economic policy and the development path that has been followed, with disregard for environmental, ecological and social cost have left indubitable impacts on our natural resources, environment and human health.
A group of concerned organisaitons and citizens in Kerala (comprising the Kerala Paristhithi Aikya Vedi) got together to opt for a different development paradigm; a paradigm that ensures economic growth revolving around social, environmental, ecological, secular and democratic systems. The primary focus of this is on ensuring all citizens clean air, clean water, clean soil, clean food, a house to dwell in, hygienic living surroundings, basic free medical facilities and education facilities. To meet these basic requirements a Green Agenda for Kerala is proposed as a publication.
At this stage we have a draft that contains enough solutions for the many environmental issues. A final document will be prepared after a series of discussions with various stakeholders and experts. We aim to engage with the political parties both in the government and in opposition within Kerala, with the aim of getting them to integrate these basic requirements into their agendas for the benefit of generations to come.
The initial meeting was held between 2-3 September 2012, and 17 sectors were discussed. These included Information Technology, Land Use, Water Use, Forest Policy, Roads and Transport, Waste management, Housing, Quarrying and Mining, Tourism, Transport and Marine Ecosystems, among others.
More details can be found here. LINK
1. Guidelines for Green Development of Kerala. Draft.
2. Keralathinu Oru Haritha Vikasana Marga Rekha. Draft.