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Sunita Narain's picture
31 July 2007
Sunita Narain

The government is being severely criticised for the wheat it is now planning to import. Rightly so. India’s season for wheat ended a few months ago. When the crop was being harvested the government dithered on the price it would pay farmers; it floated tenders for import of wheat; it insisted on taxing the purchased wheat. At the end, farmers were paid Rs 850 per quintal, a price which included a ‘bonus’ of Rs 100.

Sunita Narain's picture
30 June 2007
Sunita Narain

Industrialist Ratan Tata has reportedly written to the prime minister cribbing about delays in implementing big buck projects. In his capacity as the chair of the government’s investment commission he says over us $50 billion is tied up because of delays in allocating land and resources.

Sunita Narain's picture
15 June 2007
Sunita Narain

Some innovations change lives. A favourite of mine is the village milk collection system, a cooperative model. There’s a dairy in the village, people bring in milk, the dairy in-charge places a sample on an instrument, checks the fat content, prints a receipt that tells the seller the fat content and the price.

Sunita Narain's picture
31 May 2007
Sunita Narain

My worst fears are coming true; and that has more to do with the politics of climate change than its reality. While concern on global warming reaches a crescendo, the world, instead of finding resolutions, is hurtling towards discord and dispute. Let us be clear: we do not have time to waste on bad politics and bad politicians.

Sunita Narain's picture
15 May 2007
Sunita Narain

Now that the reality of climate change has been accepted even by its strongest sceptics, there is a rush to find answers. The latest buzz is to substitute the use of greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels with biofuels—fuel processed from plants. Unfortunately, the way we are going about implementing this “good” idea could mean we are headed from the frying pan to the fire.

Sunita Narain's picture
30 April 2007
Sunita Narain

I wrote last fortnight about how mining in Goa for iron ore was ripping its forests and devastating its people. I wrote of the violence and protests I saw in its villages, where miners were pitted against people angry at the loss of their cultivable lands and their water bodies. I had asked then: what are we doing? I ask this again.

Sunita Narain's picture
15 April 2007
Sunita Narain

We were standing between a massive mine and a stunning water reservoir. Local activists were explaining to me that this iron ore mine was located in the catchment of the Salaulim water reservoir, the only water source for south Goa. Suddenly, as I started clicking with my camera, we were surrounded by a jeepload of men. They said they were from the mine management and wanted us off the property. We explained that we had come on a public path and that there were no signs to indicate that we were trespassing. But they were not in a mood to listen.

Sunita Narain's picture
31 March 2007
Sunita Narain

It can be said that Union budget, 2007, is high on symbolism and intent. Most people in and close to power acknowledge that something is spoiling booming India’s party: price rise, agricultural decay, poverty, mainly. This budget, says finance minister P Chidambaram, is the government’s way to fix these problems so that growth is inclusive. But will the words and allocated funds add up to coherence and content?

Sunita Narain's picture
15 March 2007
Sunita Narain

Call it is one of the unknown Indian ironies. Over many years, the Indian state, through its public irrigation agencies, has systematically taken over the management of surface water systems. It has taken over the job of building irrigation systems—dams, reservoirs and canals—then maintaining these and supplying water. This has meant that over the years it has taken over water resources from the hands of village communities. The irony is that even as the state has vested this power in itself, people have taken water under their control.

Sunita Narain's picture
28 February 2007
Sunita Narain

Now that the jury is out on the very real threat of climate change, we must focus on what needs to be done. The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (ipcc) should make climate-sceptics like us president George Bush blush.

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