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Re: Environmental Policy in the Manifesto

Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
At 07:48 AM 2/26/01 -0800, "Krishnan Kandasamy" <nkandasamy@hotmail.com>

>The environmental policy indicated in the Manifesto is .. to put it mildly 
>I urge the people who run the website to take it out. AND MAKE IT UNDER 

If you were paying attention to what is written on IPI's page, you would
note that it is called "version" 'so and so', always amenable to revision.
You are most welcome to make it 'unstupid.' It is always possible to change
the IPI statements through debate.

>Look I am not anti-development or anything. But the environmental policy in 
>the manifesto is written by an ignorant baffon.

Please offer an alternative ( a specific paragraph). Getting worked up is
not necessary at all! Read the rules of debate and understand that IPI is
not offering any 'service' which is unalterable. We are very very flexible
on IPI. Non-buffoons in particular are invited to contribute.

>The statement in the manifesto, that is written by a generalist bureaucrat 
>is simply unacceptable. Mr.Sanjeev's argument defending the statement is 
>pathetic. .. What knowledge do he have about the environment?.

First you say that a buffoon wrote it. Then you say a generalist bureaucrat
wrote it. Does it mean that all buffoons are generalist bureaucrats or vice
versa? Or do you imply me, by any chance? 

As an economist I want to know from the "specialists" in environment
(presumably you are one or know someone who is one) what is the
cost-benefit of the suggestions they make. And do they know that spending
on environment in India's corrupt political environment is merely helping
fund foreign junkets of ministers and bureaucrats, and helping educate
their children abroad? Was the Ganga clean-up a failure because of shortage
of funds or because of rampant corruption? We must all realise that clean
politics is the first clean-up we need to talk about. 

Each time you lambast me on not paying attention to environment or whatever
you ignore the underlying cause of slums and filth in India: corruption,
and pretend that more money in this sector can 'solve' the filth and
pollution. No sir, throwing more money in this area will simply fund the
sons and daughters of the corrupt politicians and officials who will go
abroad, study on your 'clean-up' money, and clean up your gold and
treasures, selling them to the highest foreign bidder! 

Clean-up politics first. Clean-up economic policy first. A clean
environment will follow. Has always followed. I live in Australia now, in
an atrociously clean environment. Lovely place. [But remember also that
Australia is the world's largest per capita emitter of green house gases,
and the wealthy countries will always ask others such as India to clean up
the world, without paying for it of course!].  

Anyways, even assuming that your (taxpayer's) money won't leak into the
hands of politicians and corrupt bureaucrats, please explain why I should
advocate spending Re.1 on environment at the cost of Re. 1 on education,
for instance, i.e., what is the marginal cost-benefit of a rupee spent on
environment in terms of growth of incomes of the people of India, or of
general well-being of the society? Where is your "expert" analysis which
shows that India will suffer, say, x amount of damage from the alleged
greenhouse effect if it does not spend say, y amount of money on
environment (and which part of environment, pray)? 

Generalisations and panicky statements about the environment best suit
those who see the sky falling down each day, i.e., suicidal cults, and not
rational thinkers. I am not an environmental expert, maybe, but I can ask
very harsh and blunt economic questions. You can't make me change my views
by calling me a buffoon (or a genius, if you please), but by showing me the
specific error of my analysis. At least offer me some numbers!

>Indian population growth has resulted in pressures on Land, water and Air 
>and they have to be corrected.  Sensible planning is all areas of the 
>enviornmental protection and human development is must.

How many times do I have to point out the fact that population is NOT the
cause of our problems but the consequence of our corrupt poilitics and bad
economics? Looks like some folk never get rid of the convincing intutions
that they are brought up with. Please read Barun Mitra's and my work on
IPI's publications page.

>Agricultural growth has been stagnant in the last few years, and India is 
>facing an environmental catastrophe without adequate Environmental 

Thanks. That is a more 'precise' and relatively 'less' panicky statement.
Please tell me the exact nature of the catastrophe, since we are having too
much agricultural surplus and are the world's largest milk producer
(stagnation is maybe what is needed at this stage, lest we force prices
down and force all our farmers to commit suicide). What are your
'environment protection' solutions to this 'catastrophe' and what will they
cost? What is the return on the investment you advocate? Can I spend that
money better in any other way, such as by importing food from Australia,
USA or Europe, where they are dumping and burying food in millions of
tonnes to keep food prices from collapsing, and use the savings from your
"environmental binge" in educating the people, or in looking after public
health, or merely in killing mice which currently eat up 10% of our crop? 

With regards and no offence taken! [whether you call me a buffoon or a
generalist bureaucrat: btw, I am no longer a dreaded bureaucrat, but one of
you, the janata!].

Let us think and work together, and forget this name-calling business.

Sanjeev Sabhlok, Ph.D.
President and Managing Associate,
IndiaConsult Associates,
Melbourne, Australia.

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