It is now well recognised across the world that wealth generated by the mining sector comes at a substantial development cost, along with environmental damages and economic exclusion of the marginalised. This has also been exhaustively documented in India. In fact, the major mining districts of India are among its poorest and most polluted. Considering the negative externalities of the mining sector, new policies and practices are being explored and implemented across the world to ensure that mineral wealth can be converted into sustainable development benefits for local communities.
There is never any end to learning. And so, surprises. We have learnt, over 20 years, that environmental governance in India is lackadaisical.
By Vibha Varshney
Note by the Centre for Science and Environment, based on extensive research published in its book, Rich Lands, Poor People: is ‘sustainable mining possible? August 2010