January 18, 2010

Bt brinjal - Consultations in India - a circus?

I know you all know my views on this subject and I am not going to talk about that here:-). Refer to my previous posts from the label - Science. But, I have serious concerns on how policy decisions are being taken in the country. Our Environment Minsiter Shri Jairam Ramesh very grandly announced that he will tour the country and hold consultations on the Bt brinjal technology and its implications before commercialization. Very nice, one would say at first. But going by what's happening in West Bengal and Orissa, its like a big drama being enacted out there... I mean a stage managed show, by both the activists and companies. Both sides are engaged in getting 'x' number of farmers and scientists to support their claims and Science or Consultation has taken a back seat:-).

I know we live in a democracy and its all very nice to have all voices heard but this Consultation is probably the best joke of the month! So much of money and time is being spent on this and the outcome is nil. Jairam Ramesh is not going to get enriched with information in this process, at best, he will know who is on whose side:-).

Our government has taken and keeps taking so many decisions everyday, I wonder, why this Consultation approach is not being taken by other Minsitries.. I was just thinking how such meetings would be...

Our Finance Minister decides to hold consulations ahead of his budget to get the feel of people's feedback on taxes... Wherever he went, he had the Corporate lobby propping up people who spoke about reducing taxes to Companies. Then there was the lobby that had people speaking about reducing taxes at individual level. And there were the farmers' lobby (how can you forget them) who demanded more sops to do corporate / contract farming:-).

Not to be left behind, our Railways Minister also decided to hold Consultations ahead of the Rail Budget. Wherever she went, people demanded new trains from their state to Delhi. Many demanded creation of new railway divisions in their state! If all suggestions were taken seriously, she would have to introduce atleast 100 new trains in the current year!!

Is this the right approach to take, by Ministers? Oh yes, talking to all stakeholders and studying in depth, the subject are all important and must be done... but these kind of consultations on Bt Brinjal, at best, can be described as a circus:-)

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