Former Environment Minister and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has said in a book that environmental considerations must be at the heart of economic growth, especially for a country of 1.25 billion people.
The yet to be released book Green, Signals: Ecology, Growth, and Democracy in India, which comes in the backdrop of the spotlight on the issue of green nod to certain big ticket industry projects after Jayanthi Natarajan's resignation from Congress, says that the debate on whether to privilege economic growth over ecological security is "passé."
"Environmental considerations must be at the heart of economic growth, especially for a country of 1.25 billion people destined to add another 400 million by the middle of the century," the book says.
Natarajan, who replaced Ramesh as Minister of Environment and Forest in July, 2011, resigned from Congress on Saturday, alleging that she followed Rahul Gandhi's directions on the issue of green nod to certain big ticket projects but was "vilified, humiliated and sidelined" by the leadership.
The book by Ramesh chronicles the '1991 moment' in India's environmental decision-making, telling the story of how, for the first time, the doors of the environment ministry were opened to voices, hitherto unheard, into the policy-making process, its preface said.
The preface adds that the book details efforts to change the way environment was viewed both by proponents of environmental security and those who prize economic growth at all costs.
"Told from the perspective of a pivotal decision-maker, the book addresses the challenges involved in trying to ensure economic growth with ecological security.
"It takes us through India's coming of age in the global environmental and climate change community to take on a leadership role that was progressive, proactive, and steeped in national interest," it says.
The book also sketches the attempts of Ramesh to make environmental concerns an essential component of the nation's quest to accelerate economic growth and end the scourge of poverty and deprivation.