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HindustanTimes Tue,25 Nov 2014

Life and Universe

The Earth needs better inputs, newer insights
Bharati Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times
September 23, 2013
First Published: 02:37 IST(23/9/2013)
Last Updated: 02:39 IST(23/9/2013)

If you’ve read this paper, you’ll know that three experts just resigned from the National Ganga River Basin Authority.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. The government frequently requests experts to join green committees, slog at reports and invest their time attending meetings. Most do this entirely voluntarily, because they believe they can help bring about tangible change. Sometimes, along with other participants, they make positive change and the country benefits from sensible policies and laws.

But often, these committees meet infrequently. Plus, the government is not mandated to follow their recommendations. It is a function of the pro-activeness of a minister that finally decides if at all knowledge, and whose knowledge, will play a role in policy making.

To my mind, the biggest problem with this is that most of our resources — air, water, minerals, soil, forests — are managed by a small group, mainly administrators. They may not be the best people to either withstand political pressures or to understand how local communities perceive such commons, or even get the science and social sciences right. People who have spent long years in the field are likely to offer better, or at least, newer insights, even if their inputs are not easy to digest.


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