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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Need of political and administrative will for sustainable development

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The most quoted definition of sustainable development, since the 1st Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 in which 182 countries adopted Agenda 21, is -the development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. In other words - Sustainable development is about striking the right balance between economic development, social equity and environmental protection. For the road transport industry, meeting this objective translates into the challenge of satisfying market demands at the lowest economic, social and environmental cost possible.


Sustainable development is about striking the right balance between economic development, social equity and environmental protection. For the road transport industry, meeting this objective translates into the challenge of satisfying market demands at the lowest economic, social and environmental cost possible.


Sustainable Development


Sustainable Development in a country can be brought about by incorporating needs of common man and environment in the economic and political agenda of that country. It is the government of a country which remains directly responsible for a number of things like-


1. Making policies, plans etc. and conducting various programmes for development;
2. Enactment of laws for the welfare of societies, protection of environment and enforcement of these laws;
3. Making assessment regarding the status of the health of environment, ascertaining the decline in the natural resources, assessing the levels of pollution in its different segments and setting of standards;
4. Evaluating natural resources and their contribution in the development of economy and society;
5. Regulating and monitoring activities of industries, companies etc. towards the good of society and environment.


The above mentioned responsibilities of the government demand strong political and administrative will that are essentially the primary means for developing nations to achieve sustainable development. The politics and administration must consider the balance and repair of the environment and share of common man in environmental resources instead of considering only the development of industries and mega projects of modern development.


The sustainable development calls for empowerment, participation, cooperation, equity, security and long term sustainability for all the people in a society. All of these can only be acquired if the constituent components in politics and administration – the mechanisms, institutions and processes, through which citizens articulate their interests and exercise their rights-, are transparent and accountable. In Indian case, the country has the democratic form of government. It holds parliamentary elections. But at local government level and at the political level too, there are no democratic processes or representative systems. For example, the rural poor have no platform within the public sector to exercise their rights, or to raise objections to the detrimental practices of more powerful individuals such as industrialists, landlords, contractors, influential people, mafias etc.


Political and Administrative will have a key role in meeting the aims and objectives of sustainable development in a country. The economic and political agenda must incorporate the needs of the common man and environment. The political and administration must consider the balance and repair of environment and share of the common man in environmental resources instead of caring for the development of industries and mega projects of development. For development to sustain, it is essential that environment is protected, societies are developed, violence and crime are controlled and basic requirements of common people are fulfilled adequately.


According to a report on the Millennium Development Goals-


“As the new millennium opened, 1.1 billion people had no access to safe water, and 2.4 billion lacked access to improved sanitation – making up one sixth and two fifths of the world’s population respectively. The international community has pledged to halve both these proportions by 2015. If these targets are to be met in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean – taking population increase into account – the number of people served by water supply must increase by 1.6 billion (32 per cent) and those served by sanitation by 2.2 billion (59 per cent). The Global Water Partnership estimates that an additional $30 billion needs to be spent each year – $17 billion of it on sanitation. Policy-makers need to overcome a series of hurdles if they are to bridge the resource gap and make sure that the international targets become reality”.


India, in which political system is unstable, any programme of sustainable development cannot be implemented in full spirit. However, in this country, the rest of social development needs to escalate and economic growth needs to be backed by sustainable development. The Government of India has taken a number of steps for the development of rural poor. It has increased allocation for the social sector in the Union Budget 2008. The ambitious Bharat Nirman Programme aims at strong attempt to enhance rural infrastructure by 30 percent. The Government has earmarked US$ 2.68 billion for rural road scheme to link all villages. One-third seats have been reserved in local bodies like gram or village panchayats, municipalities, city cooperatives and district bodies of the 28, 00,000 elected representatives. In India, 970,000 are women. This figure is greater than the sum of elected women representatives across the world.


Human activities have never been favorable to the environment. The Indian constitution lays emphasis on the harmonious development of nature. Several acts and rules have been framed by the government to protect the environment from the pollution of air, water, land and wildlife. Pollution control boards have been set up at the central and state levels to enforce the implementation of these laws with the cooperation of the local administration. But the lack of political and administrative will has been the basic hurdle in the way of implementing laws. However with the intervention of honorable Supreme Court of India and initiatives from the public, environmental laws are being enforced and violators are being punished in the different parts of the country now.


Key Words:Agenda-21, economic and political agenda, millennial development goal
Image Credit IRU

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