India Blames Environmentalists for its Economic Woes

Who’s at fault for India’s slow-to-grow economy? If the government is to be believed, the fault lies with the country’s environmentalists. That’s right, those mother nature-loving hippies are singlehandedly destroying the economy!

It turns out, India’s domestic spying program has had its sights set on eco activists for a while now, and has prepared a report fingering green groups for stalling economic development in the country. The agency blames environmentalists for ruining the financial productivity of the country by 2-3 percent each year. However, the statistics and calculations India used to reach this figure are not stated in the report.

In actuality, it sounds like big business is frustrated by increasing efforts to raise environmental consciousness in India and attempting to discredit these efforts by labeling them threats to the state. It’s the 1 percent that suffers the most financially from efforts to reduce pollution. Besides, if India really wanted to position itself well in the global economy in the century ahead, it would work on developing the green technologies that will be the way of the future.

As Grist points out, there are plenty more significant factors that can be listed as reasons for the country’s slow economic growth: widespread government corruption, massive health consequences from the coal industry, and frequent power outages due to heat waves. If anything, tackling some of the country’s pressing environmental issues could serve to benefit the economy on the whole.

Narendra Modi, India’s new prime minister, has promised to expand the economy and introduce new development, but faced obstacles from environmental regulations. Some suspect that the government is attempting to intimidate environmental groups by revealing that it has been conducting surveillance on them. By filing this report, India can insinuate that environmentalists are criminals without having to file any bogus criminal charges.

The insinuations don’t stop there the government suggests that many of these environmentalist groups have ties to foreign groups who are trying to intentionally sabotage India’s progress. Even if there is some validity to these claims, it’s a sad state of affairs to label people who care about the longevity of the planet as conspirators with nebulous intentions. Surely some activists have the world’s best interests in mind!

Greenpeace, one of the organizations named specifically in India’s report, objects to the characterization from the government. “We have a legitimate right to express our views in what is the world’s largest democracy. We believe that this report is designed to muzzle and silence civil society who raise their voices against injustices to people and the environment by asking uncomfortable questions about the current model of growth,” said a Greenpeace press release.

By declaring environmentalists the enemy, India is shooting itself in the foot long term. Though green regulations may impede on rich people from making more money in the present, the health of the economy is irrelevant once the health of the planet declines, after all.


Warren Webber
Warren Webber3 years ago

Live long and prosper!

Mark Donners
Mark D3 years ago

India's national parks are pitiful tiny slices of land in a sea of overpopulated Indians. It has cities where air pollution is worse than the ones in China. India needs to get its act together and take responsibility for its environment.

Tammy D.
Tammy D3 years ago

oh please. This is not news. The reason India is in its current position is that it is much harder to compete and get things done with a corrupt, scattered, democratic government than with a corrupt, organised dictator-type government. India could not compete with China, and that has been financially crushing. Toss in a class-based society, massive overpopulation, violence against women and what have you, and that pretty much leaves you with a big pile of toxic goop. Oh, I see now. Well, then, yes, it is most definitely the environmentalists' fault. They should have contained and buried this toxic goop of a government decades ago.

Teresa W.
Teresa W3 years ago


Elizabeth F.
Elizabeth F3 years ago


Liz Edwards
Joan Edwards3 years ago

The economics of India depend on energy. While rising out of poverty would it not make sense to spend the money on ergonomic, environmentally speaking, energy?
If they were to tap into solar and wind, before the idiots around here finally figure it out and try to squeeze them out, they would be on the leading edge. That's good economics to me.

Can you imagine?
Seeing stars again. Drinking fresh water again. Green landscapes. Yes, little ones, they did exist. I saw stars. They were beautiful. And I didn't have to go out to the country to get a glimpse of them. It's so sad you can't see them, thru the haze of pollution. And yes, Northern Alberta once was covered with trees. Yes, trees! And the water was clean, with fish you could eat. I was there! I know.

India has so much power in its hands, right now; but it also has two choices. The clean healthy way and destructive way.
Who will they listen to?
Dirty money or Clean money?

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld3 years ago

Brian F.,
While India is pursuing a solar light bulb in every house, it is running into cost and production issues.!

Peggy A.
Peggy A3 years ago

So wrong

Rosa Caldwell
Rosa Caldwell3 years ago

Only time will tell what happens here.

Winn Adams
Winn A3 years ago

Noted - not surprised.