I, along with several others, have been documenting, in some detail, the steep decline in GDP growth in India over the last few years, whose magnitude, coincidentally, is almost identical to the decline attributed by the IB to a few FFNGOs. Some questions require an answer. How realistic is the IB assessment? How truthful is the analysis? How professional, in an “academic” sense, is the IB’s discourse on the subject?
In my opinion, the only legitimate issue, whether with foreign or domestic NGOs, or foreign or domestic individuals, or foreign or domestic institutions, is if any law is broken. Unfortunately, in its 21-page report, the IB is silent on laws being broken, but explosive in wearing its own righteous ideology on its ever so arrogant sleeve. The IB report is also tight-lipped on the large probability, or indeed reality, that several very Indian institutions, and indeed several UPA government officials and ministers, agreed wholeheartedly with the economy-stopping recommendations of the FFNGOs.
Indeed, the present ruling party voted with the Congress on economy-destroying legislation like the land acquisition and food security bills. So who is more at fault if fault is present — a mere FFNGO advocating a policy or a not-so-mere UPA government and political parties, which supported the enactment of very bad legislation? Further, how does the source of funding (evil foreign hand) matter? Surely, it is the execution of a policy that is most relevant.
Some of the institutions that have allegedly received funding from Greenpeace include respected names, such as IIT-Delhi. Some of the Indian institutions mentioned in the IB report that agree with the FFNGO-recommended ban on Bt cotton are “the Parliamentary Standing Committee (August 9, 2012) and the Technical Expert Committee (TEC), appointed by the Supreme Court (October 7, 2012)”. The report also alleges that FFNGOs “are making efforts to debunk the Gujarat model of development”.
Some disclosures are in order. I had argued against the opposition to the Narmada dam as far back as the late 1990s. At that time, NGO activist and leader and novelist Arundhati Roy had published a pamphlet alleging that over 50 million people had been displaced in India because of dam construction. I offered an elaborate set of calculations (later published in an academic water journal) that indicated that individuals displaced by dams were no more than three million, that is, Roy and other anti-dam activists were exaggerating by more than 15 times the “true” number. Over the last two years, I have published several articles suggesting that the so-called Gujarat model of development does stand up to scrutiny and that Gujarat, under Narendra Modi, has been tops in economic growth, near tops in poverty alleviation of disadvantaged social continued…