Looking Back to Change Track

It was in 1995 that we in The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) held a detailed discussion on what the Institute might do productively to celebrate 50 years of India's Independence, which was due to be observed in 1997. The collective view of the research staff of TERI was to carry out an assessment of our actions in managing the country's natural resources since India's Independence. The Institute, therefore, embarked on one of its important and signi?cant projects called Growth with Resource Enhancement of Environment and Nature (GREEN) India 2047. The results of the study and the processes leading to the final analysis were professionally rewarding, because there were huge challenges to be overcome in the form of serious data gaps and the time frame.

The results of the study were presented to the then prime minister of India, and there was considerable media interest in our ?ndings. It became evident that the issue of managing India's natural resources was not only a subject of widespread interest for the citizens of this country, but also in some sense, a source of embarrassment. India had a very poor record of managing its natural resources. Our own view on the results of this project was that carrying out an assessment of this subject on a regular basis would have enormous bene?ts. As they say, what gets measured gets managed. Since 1997, the Government of India and the public at large have taken several steps, which in some cases have shown positive results, while in others, have continued with the state of neglect that was typical of India's earlier approach. It was felt that a reappraisal of our record of managing natural resources across the country was necessary after 62.5 years of India's Independence.

This volume presents an in-depth reappraisal of India's record as an update of the ?rst assessment carried out in 1997. India has much at stake, and as a society, it cannot treat the management of its natural resources as an issue of low priority. We hope the publication of this volume will receive enough interest and attention to bring about a change in the right direction, so that depletion and degradation of our natural resources are viewed as going against the very purpose of economic development. Such a change is now surely overdue.

Chapter 1 Environment, development, and quality of life
Chapter 2 Environmental governance in India: a critique
Chapter 3 Water resources: ef?ciency and equitable access
Chapter 4 Forest resources: degradation, livelihoods, and climate change
Chapter 5 Biological diversity: conservation and bene?t sharing
Chapter 6 Land resources: food and livelihood security
Chapter 7 Outdoor and indoor air pollution
Chapter 8 Municipal solid waste
Chapter 9 Moving ahead: key messages from the study