Performance measurement of municipalities

04 Feb 2001 |
Mr Saurabh Gupta
| The Economic Times

We are steadily becoming urbanised. Nearly 50 cities in India would have a population of more than a million in 2001, and nearly half the Indian population would be residing in urban areas by the middle of this century. The services being provided by municipal bodies cover the most basic human needs: drinking water, sanitation, waste management, street lighting, housing, roads, and health care. However, rising urban population and rising income levels put tremendous pressures on urban infrastructure and lead to a severe deterioration in the quality of the urban environment. We need municipal bodies under greater public scrutiny.

Poverty alleviation: correcting imbalances of resources

02 Feb 2001 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| TERI Newswire VII(3)

During the period 7-9 February 2001, a major event was organized by TERI called the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit. The event was inaugurated by the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who gave a thought-provoking address, which not only highlighted the need for the developed countries to take action globally for protecting the environment and pursuing sustainable development, but also reflected on the need to address the problem of poverty effectively in the developing world.

The Enchanted Forester

30 Jan 2001 |
Dr T P Singh
| The Times of India

It is testimony to T P Singh's devotion to green issues that he refused to join the coveted IAS and opted instead for the Indian Forest Service. There is virtually no post in the world of forestry that this senior fellow at the TERI has not held, yet this self-effacing officer is critical of the role of people like himself in the future of forests. He tells Lalita Panicker that unless people are given a primary stake in forests, all the ambitious plans for forest conservation will remain on paper.

Climate change: coping with a warming world

26 Jan 2001 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| The Newspaper Today

Last week the Summary for Policy Makers approved by the member governments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is part of the Third Assessment Report of Working Group?I of the IPCC, was released in a meeting held at Shanghai. This report builds on the previous two assessments of the IPCC and represents the effort of hundreds of experts and scientists from all over the world. In all there were 123 coordinating lead authors, 516 contributing authors, 21 review editors, and about 300 expert reviewers who contributed to the preparation of this report. The contents of the report provide the current state of understanding of the world's climate system, estimates of future evolution of global climate, and associated uncertainties.

The Davos meet: a shift towards welfare of the society

17 Jan 2001 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| TERI Newswire VII(2)

Once again the rich and the powerful gathered in Davos, Switzerland to ask questions on the digital divide and the economic divide in the world. This year's Davos extravaganza indicated a certain shift from such previous annual events. For one, there was no high level representation from the US government, perhaps because the new administration is still in the process of settling down. The protestors, who have now become a part of the scene in such meetings, were conspicuous by their presence but so was the Swiss Police, who ensured that the protestors and demonstrators did not get close enough to the venue of the meeting to disrupt the proceedings. The cold weather in Davos and freezing water in high-pressure hoses came to the help of the police.

Dabhol: A big mistake?

10 Jan 2001 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| The Economic Times

The Dabhol project cannot be seen as black or white. We should look at the context in which the project was formulated and the contract for its implementation. In 1991 when the government of India opened the power sector to private investments, a large number of potential investors expressed interest in setting up independent power projects in several parts of the country. However, the initial policy framework developed by the government hardly provided any assurance to developers of IPPs on payment of their dues adequately and in a timely manner. Hence, the so-called fast track projects on which the Government of India focussed initially were considered for provision of sovereign guarantees.

Environmental degradation and damage: The neglected aspect of security

09 Jan 2001 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| The Newspaper Today

Security concerns worldwide have generally been confined to traditional aspects dealing with military issues and political conflict. In actual fact, environmental stress has emerged as a major concern over the past few decades, with ecological impacts leading to conflict of a different kind. There is, therefore, need to understand environmental security as an essential prerequisite for human wellbeing and peaceful progress. Environmental stress can lead to an increase in poverty and economic hardship which carries the potential of conflict. Globally there are 2.8 billion people who live at incomes below $2 a day, and they are therefore, highly vulnerable to threats arising out of environmental damage.

Collapse of northern grid: a wake-up call

17 Dec 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| TERI Newswire VI(24)

As this issue of TERI Newswire goes to press, the entire northern grid has suffered a major collapse, plunging all of northern India into one of the worst power breakdowns in recent years. The government has set up a committee to inquire into the factors behind this failure and the means by which such occurrences can be prevented in the future. The breakdown is, however, symptomatic of a much larger problem, for which solutions are difficult and likely to be time consuming. The committee that would go into this specific episode can, therefore, at best provide some directions for first aid, but this malady requires a series of surgical procedures.

Environmental Security: A developing country perspective

02 Dec 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| PECS NEWS 2(2)

Featuring R K Pachauri, Director, TERI and Vice Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Richard Elliot Benedick, Deputy Director, Environmental and Health Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and President, National Council for Science and the Environment. Sponsored by the Environmental Change and Security Project.

Learning from international experience: a must for regulation in India

02 Dec 2000 |
Dr R K Pachauri
| TERI Newswire VI(23)

While all the world has been watching the twists and turns of the US presidential elections, a crisis that normally would have caused great concern, at least in the US, has not received adequate coverage in the media. California, the most economically advanced state in the US, has been going through a precarious period of power shortages in recent weeks. The situation is so serious that the US Energy Secretary Bill Richardson has ordered other states in the western part of the country to sell power to California. The maintenance reserve in California has reached a low level of about 1.5% of the total supply, which in operational terms signifies a Stage-3 alert level. It is possible that blackouts will have to be imposed if the winter in the western part of the US becomes more severe than it is now.