Saturday, 30 October 2010

Equity for Tribals?

I have just read the latest inspired offering from GoI to the tribals sitting on the mineral rich belt which the state cannot wait to get its hands on. In the usual manner of dealing with those whom force, violence, rape cannot dispose, the latest strategy is to just buy-em-out! The GoM met recently in Delhi to discuss the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act which proposed a 26% equity for tribals of the region. The general 'public' response to this bill seems to be 'positive' - i.e. people who care about tribal rights feel that it is high time that they - the tribals - got a piece of their own pie, worth upto 2 lakh per year income for the tribals. And...I would agree, that the tribals should at least get a piece of their own pie.

However, I object to this way of operating on several grounds...primarily the bill
seems far from fulfilling a necessary condition which the GoM does not even address - that of prior sanction for mining rights in tribal territories. Only in case of 'minor' minerals does the bill propose a consultation with those effected. Secondly, the present government seems to be in unacceptable hurry to exploit the nation's major and non-renewable mineral reserves within the present generation - or in its present term in office. This pace of exploitation will leave no scope for either the environment or the cultures residing within to adjust or attempt equilibrium with their changing situations. Thirdly, I am deeply concerned about the role that large financial compensations will play in largely non-cash based case the promised equity actually reaches all those effected - a scenario that can hardly be taken for granted in India!
.....I wrote this a while back and do not remember why did not post it. I reread it now and find what I've written somewhat incomplete, although still 'perfectly reasonable' :)

So I am posting it!

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