Sunday, August 5, 2018


The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, in association with the World Bank, recently released the latest round of the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) rankings in which Telangana was again amongst the top. This achievement was a result of tireless efforts from the highest level, including very proactive policy reforms and procedural overhauling of existing delivery mechanisms relating to establishment of businesses.
The improved position of Indian States in the last few years is a clear indication of adoption of transparent administrative mechanisms and enabling environment for establishment of new business without major hiccups, procedural delays and other factors, which were once an essential part of the Licence Raj. These changes provided an enabling environment for budding entrepreneurs and businessmen to flourish by deriving maximum benefits and powered the much required growth in the States.

Environment-friendly GDP

It is a well-known fact that the development is the sole agenda of today’s world and the recent improvement in rankings of States is bound to facilitate economic growth thereby steering them towards better GDP apart from providing employment and finally better living standards.
However, at the same time, there is a need to give more thrust on other equally burning and challenging issues of development like education, access to safe drinking water, agriculture, health and hygiene and last but not the least conservation and protection of the environment, which are usually taking a back seat in the present day economies.

It is not surprising to note that these challenging issues, which influence and affect majority of the population of the developing countries, are an all-time favourite plank for pre-poll promises but hardly get the required attention, thrust and priority afterwards.
The policy-level recognition and thrust with concrete time-bound plans for some of these burning issues like safe drinking water for all, infra support and financial assistance to the agricultural sector and environmental conservation to name a few taken by the Telangana government in the last few years reflect clear departure from hitherto convention of ignoring these sectors, which are vital for the well-being of our society.
Right Balance
The mission mode approach, policy interventions and financial support to address some of these under Mission Bhagiratha (supply of drinking water), Mission Kakatiya (tanks restoration), Rythu Bandhu (investment support to farmers) and Haritha Haram (increase of green cover) are a welcome change towards bringing the right balance between development and environment for sustainable development.
The role of corporations/business houses also assumes importance in this debate of development vs environment. It is imperative from the scope and concept of sustainable development that corporate houses must not operate under competitive pressures to achieve just short-term goals (profits), which endanger long-term objectives of environmental protection and intergenerational development.
In the present day scenario of continued environmental degradation, it is highly expected that in addition to getting profits, the policy and actions of the corporate groups should also be proactive to provide enough space for long-term environmental protection goals and intergenerational considerations.
This is where the concept of environmental corporate social responsibility or green initiatives of CSR comes to the fore. According to recent findings, companies in Telangana spent around Rs 440 crore towards various CSR activities in 2016-17, excluding CSR spent on pan-India projects and on projects where they have officially not given State-wise CSR data. If that is also taken into account, it may easily cross Rs 600 crore.

Increased Allocation

Of the above spending, allocation towards the environment sector was only around 9% (approximately Rs 40 crore) in comparison to education (38%), healthcare (15%), miscellaneous (13%) and skill development (9%). In majority of the cases, the spending by companies towards the environment sector barring a few seems to be dispersed and scattered in approach thereby not showing any solid or considerable impact.
Across India, the priority to the environment sector in the CSR spending of previous years had also taken a back seat. This needs to be reworked and reoriented to nurture and foster the sustainable development goals, including environmental protection and conservation. The meagre budgetary allocation for various initiatives of this neglected sector also needs retrospection.
Against this backdrop, the initiatives of the Telangana government towards environmental conservation like Haritha Haram can further be strengthened and accelerated much before the expected time if corporate houses become an active partner and contribute to the State government’s mission of making green and sustainable Telangana and give back something very concrete to society and future generations.
Businesses should convey the message that while they do business for profit they also care for society, particularly the environment. This historic shift from EoDB to ZoMG (Zeal of Making Green) needs to be the new mantra of progressing Telangana. All sections of society should become partners in action and contribute their mite.
(The author is Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Karimnagar. Views are personal.
Also appeared in TELANGANA TODAY (

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