Environment versus development main issue

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Environmental laws have been blatantly violated in India. The result is that the key laws including the Forest Conservation Act and the Forests Rights Act have been ignored in order to give speedy clearances to mining and infrastructure projects.

The key challenge facing Prakash Javedekar is whether he will allow himself to green signal infrastructure projects as was done by his predecessor Veerappa Moily or whether he will dig his heels in an aim to conserve India’s dwindling forests, wildlife and its diversity.

Conservationists want Javedkar to take strong steps to end corruption in the forest bureaucracy, which is turning a blind eye to the rampant poaching of animals and the felling of prime trees by the timber mafia and local contractors.

Indian air has becoming the most polluted in the world with air pollution having emerged as one of the top killer diseases.

All major cities in the country are presently reeling under severe particulate pollution which has triggered a 60 per cent increase in cardio-respiratory diseases.

Dealing with climate change will prove another major challenge especially since several agricultural scientists have warned that crop yields are expected to decline by 30 per cent in the next two decades, with small landholders and subsistence farmers expected to be the hardest hit. The minister has also demanded that India ratify a ban on import and export of hazardous waste as sought by the Basel Convention.

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