India should have regulatory policies to prevent potentially “damaging behaviour” but it should not mean return of “license permit raj”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Thursday.
The Prime Minister was referring to recent debate balance between growth and environmentally sustainable development at the 11th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit.
“The solution lies in two dimensions,” the PM said. First was a regulatory standards and mechanism to enforce them in a transparent manner and effective policies to deal with residual pollution caused despite regulatory structure.
“The principle that should be followed in such cases is that the polluters must pay. This will discourage the polluters and also provide a means of financing the corrective steps necessary to counter the pollution caused,” the PM said.
The prime minister also said that India was trying to do this by setting appropriate standards in several areas, especially in the most energy using industries. “As a general rule we are trying to establish the principle that the polluter must pay though that is much more difficult to achieve.”
To achieve goal of sustainable development, the PM stressed on the need for capacity building at the local level but said local or national action would be of no avail when the externalities cross natural boundaries, as in the case of climate change.
Even the recent climate summit in Mexico failed to resolve these issues, Singh said and described the outcome of the conference as a “modest” gain. He, however, welcomed the agreement on setting of a network of technology innovation centers under United Nations to foster local adaptation and mitigation measures.
“India will continue to play a constructive and responsible role in the on-going negotiations and will work with the international community to find practical, pragmatic and equitable solution,” he said.
He said the 12 five year plan, to cover 2012-17, would focus on specific initiatives needed to put the country’s development on a path consistent with low carbon growth, energy efficiency and exploitation of renewable energy sources.
The summit is the first major global meeting after the Cancun climate summit of December 2010. The theme of the three-day meet, organised by The Energy Research Institute (TERI), is tapping local initiatives and to tackle global inertia.