Mr. Shourie – GDP is a stupid measure – how come you don’t get it?

“If we continue with the UPA, and the current set of people in the planning commission, India’s GDP will NEVER grow”, said Mr. Shourie.  “Vedanta invested 50,000 crores in the project, and it is a shame, if they have to go back, because 100 tribals decided their fate”, he continued.

You might come read a recent news item about how a few Gram Sabhas in Orrisa, took on Vendata, the global mining giant, with the help of the Supreme Court, and sent them packing from their hills.  The Orrisa Government more than Vedanta.  They will just go elsewhere.  Classic David v. Goliath fight. Somehow, there is doubt that a global mining giant can be ethical.  If a company “talks” of invest of 50,000 crores, how much were they planning to earn? 50000,000 crores perhaps? I have no shares in Vedanta, and no land in those hills, As a citizen of India, I feel thankful that the Supreme Court is doing the right thing and ensuring what our Government would not want to do – decisions that impact people, particularly tribals, should NOT be made by babus sitting in Bhubhaneshwar or even worse Delhi.

Arun Shourie’s comments were when being interviewed by Karan Thapar on TV today.  He felt that if he was the Finance Minister, he would explain to the Supreme Court as to why their decision in April this year was wrong. Vedanta has invested money. They and others will not come back to India. Investors will walk away. So, in his view, a decision, even if made incorrectly by the Central or State Government, should be upheld for the sake of foreign investors.  We need to just to the investors. Our own citizens – well we can always send them to the Himalayas or the Arabian Sea I suppose. The tribals are of course unaware, uneducated, and can NOT be trusted to make the “right” decisions that impact global mining giants like Vedanta and the investment “climate”.

Another view is that Vedanta’s agreement was really with the Orrisa Govt., and they need to make bauxite available from elsewhere to allow the project to continue.  If it is already with the judiciary, then they along with the Central Govt., should get the matter expedited, and resolved.

The real problem is not Vedanta, Mr. Shourie or the tribals.  It lies with the stupid economic measure called GDP. In it, there is no value for the forests of this planet.  There is value only if one tears it down. For timber. There is value if you mine it. For the minerals. There is value. For transporting it. In spending fossil fuel in cutting it down, or mining it, or transporting the products. Once finished, and made barren, there is no value for it. There was none for the animals that occupy it. None for the carbon it absorbs.  A partial solution would be to have a negative adjustment number to take account of this. This is also called Genuine Progress Indicator. See – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genuine_Progress_Index – for more details.

Arun Shourie, for all his intellect, kept harping about GDP growth, or the lack of it.  Mr. Shourie – can you please educate yourself about GDP’s shortfalls? The least we expect from a person of your stature.

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