Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's observation that enforcement of environmental regulatory standards should not lead to a throwback to the days of the licence-permit raj strikes a jarring note in an era of enlightened, science-based conservation. By projecting regulation as a threat to economic development, he has brought needless pressure to bear on the nascent efforts of Minister Jairam Ramesh to bring accountability and transparency to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). In his address to the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, the Prime Minister lamented the weakening of the ancient symbiotic relationship between society and the environment on account of development and population growth; he prescribed the unexceptionable cure of sustainable development and called for inter-generational equity. But his advocacy is short on conviction because it comes laced with the scare scenario of bottleneck controls. It is certainly unhelpful to Mr. Ramesh, who has been working hard to strike the right balance between GDP growth and conservation, reduce carbon emissions without sacrificing growth — and vitally, to steer the MoEF away from the path of rubber-stamped environmental clearances. Such is the pressure on the Ministry, including from other Ministries, that it has had to show cause why it is implementing fundamental laws such as the Forest (Conservation) Act.
The MoEF now has the difficult task of introducing greater scientific rigour in environment impact assessment of projects. The Minister has gone about his job seeking expert counsel, holding public hearings, and publishing committee reports. This refreshing approach also serves a public education function and Mr. Ramesh must persist with it. His priority should be to make the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 effective; a weak EIA regime can do much harm. The Ministry's committee on the Posco project in Orissa, for instance, recorded “serious lapses and illegalities” in EIA and the majority of members recommended revocation of clearance granted in 2007 for a minor port and steel plant. That the Ministry had to subsequently ignore the report and conditionally clear the project is a measure of the pressure it faces. The present onslaught on environmental regulations, most of which are poorly enforced by State governments, is a far cry from the time of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who pioneered them in a different era. She memorably described unplanned development as violence against the landscape. In recent times, the Forest Rights Act has joined the list of progressive laws protecting the rights of people, and forests. Political India needs to learn the virtues of good environmental governance, which limits exploitation of natural resources to sustainable levels.
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Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? To increase economic growth, government can neglect environmental concerns. Use specific reasons to support your answer.
It is undeniable that the development of economy has brought great changes in everyone's life and significantly elevated our living standards. Therefore, some people argue that the development of economy must come before all else, including the environmental concerns. In my opinion, however, under no circumstances should we seek temporary economic development at the expense of the environment and resources because if we do so, we could never achieve sustainable development of economy and such a practice is not in accord with human welfare.
In the first place, if the government neglect the importance of environmental protection when promoting the economic development, it could make a profit in the short term but suffer a larger loss in the long run. It is because of the obvious fact that we need to utilize resources from the environment for developing economy and they can be depleted or polluted if we overlook the environmental protection. For example, as we all know, water plays an important role in the economic growth. Farmers use it to irrigate crops, factories use it to create and process products, shipping companies use it to transport goods and hydroelectric power stations use it to create the electricity. However, clean water is becoming increasingly scarce for two reasons. First, people lavishly use water for irrigation and have no idea of conserving water resources in our daily life. Second, water is seriously contaminated by the waste products generated by factories and refineries. Over time, the shortage and pollution of water will result in terrible consequences that people could no longer use water in agriculture, industry, transportation and the generation of electricity and have to find substitute, whose costs might beyond our reach. Not to mention the economic growth in the future.
In the second place, government could not improve people's lives through developing the economy at the expense of environment and resources, instead, people will have to endure unfavorable living environment and lose happiness. Industrialized societies clearly cause severe pollution to the environment of our planet, especially to the Earth's atmosphere. People in cities have to bear the strong fumes of the automobile exhaust, the smoke and soot causing by air pollution and the increased radiation and ultraviolet rays bringing by the depletion of the ozone. What's more, the burning of fossil fuels produces a large amount of nitrogen oxides, which damage the lungs and irritate the eyes of people. No one would enjoy living in contaminated environment and people might feel anxiety and frustrated when failing to see clear sky for a long time. Our government should not pursue the economic growth by sacrificing the happiness of everyone.
Admittedly, with the development of economy, the qualities of our living have been improved notably. People are able to earn more money, live in bigger houses and afford better medical treatment. However, we actually can realize a better development of economy under the condition of conserving environment. For instance, government can attract tourists and investors by clean and beautiful environment. The tourism industry and foreign investment can also facilitate the economic development
In conclusion, considering the fact that developing economy at the expense of the environment is not sustainable and do harm to human being's welfare, government should definitely abandon this practice.