India’s environmental battle against socialism

India became an independent nation on August 15, 1947. Socialism shaped the main economic and social policies of the Indian government until the early 1990s. Socialism is an economic and political system based on public ownership of the means of production. The government makes all legal production and distribution decisions in a socialist system. The government determines all levels of production and prices. This means that there was no free market in India until the early 1990s. A free market means an economy with unfettered competition and only private transactions between buyers and sellers. Without a free market, there were many economic collapses in the first 45 years of our independence.

The fall and hatred against socialism in India came after economic stagnation, chronic shortages and state inefficiency left many disappointed. We moved towards a market economy in the early 1990s.

We have just turned 27 years of capitalism and the free market, but recent protests by environmentalists in almost every state where the government wants to take land and develop it is delaying and derailing the growth of our nation. I was at a high-level government meeting to discuss clearing or land of about 20 acres, but notices from and PIL filed by some environmentalists again pushed the project back. I was shocked to see them compare India with the West.

The economic growth of a country cannot be more important than the preservation of the environment. But comparing India with the sustainability model of European nations and North America is unfair. The United States was independent 240 years ago with centuries of capitalist governments focused on ambitious development. This gave Americans a chance to fight the job shortage, and with such a head start, they were able to increase per capita GDP to US $ 63,416. Now they are thinking about sustainability, and rightly so. However, we were not 240 years ahead! Our per capita GDP is less than US $ 2,000. Our goal must be development-oriented. We need to focus on increasing employment opportunities for everyone. Adani is not our enemy but our hope for a better and more comfortable lifestyle. Hating our capitalist heroes will derail everything.

The problem is the overcrowding of some cities. The problem is the lack of jobs. The nation needs land to develop infrastructure that could help create jobs. Protecting the environment is important, but it can coexist with the development of private infrastructure if the two sides work together rather than protest. About 24.4% of the land area is covered with forests and trees in India, even though our nation accounts for 2.4% of the global area. 27% by vehicles and 17% by crop burning are the main reasons for pollution in India. Public transport (metro) can reduce vehicle traffic, and crop burning increases due to agricultural errors and not infrastructure development.

This piece is not intended for people who truly care about the environment. I respect you all and you do a wonderful job. But I want to call those pseudo-environmentalists who sit in their air-conditioned rooms with wealthy parents who have dodged taxes for decades. Stop trying to stop the development. Stop comparing our approach with European nations. They got freedom and the free market centuries before us. If there is no development in the small towns and states, Indian youth will flock to the three or four Indian cities where there has been visible growth and improvement and overcrowd them.

The problem is overcrowding and congestion. Infrastructure development is not the problem. The congestion results from certain anti-development environmental laws. We cannot expand if there is no room for expansion. Environmental preservation and development can coexist if both parties sit down and discuss it. Stop protesting and understand that the people of our nation do not deserve poverty. They deserve opportunities to work, earn and grow in modern industries. This is only possible when companies are allowed to enter.

The sustainable development agenda should be the fundamental cornerstone for securing future economic and trade growth through inclusive poverty eradication. This should not be a reason to stop development and start riots against the job providers.



The opinions expressed above are those of the author.