GOOD tidings are available from India’s corporate sector. Bigwigs from India Inc have come together to pledge to work with the Government to tackle climate change and build sustainable economies so as to help the country to achieve its targets under Paris (Climate) Agreement. The “Declaration of Private Sector on Climate Change” issued by top brass of some of India’s leading private sector enterprises is bound to elicit a wonderfully coordinated response by the Government and business to protect national interests by keeping the country on track to meeting the obligations under the Paris Agreement. By any standard, this is a welcome development that would make India’s position as a global leader stronger.
It is obvious that such a kind of agreement between the Government and business can come only after much spade work by both sides keeping in view the national climate goals and obligations. It is also obvious that the Indian business has responded very correctly to the Government’s initiative on implementation of its national commitment to the Paris Agreement. This happy picture offers a sharp contrast to how the United States responded by withdrawing from the Paris (Climate) Agreement. That withdrawal was an outcome of the refusal of American corporate sector to walk along because it might threaten its economic interests.
No matter what other countries may or may not do in this regard, India has accepted certain obligations as national goals in regard to protection of global climate against senseless invasion of industrial and technological invasion. India has also expressed its full willingness to accept the monetary burden that may entail in the short and long terms. For, when a country of India’s size agrees to make suitable changes in its technological spectrum to accommodate its part of global climate goals, then the decision involves incalculable monetary burden that may upset the economic apple-cart.
Despite this, India accepted its part of the commitment as sacrosanct. Fortunately, the corporate sector, too, agreed to go along, as is clear from the “Declaration of Private Sector on Climate Change”. It is clear that Indian business has expressed willingness to make necessary technological adjustment — of course at a huge cost — so accommodate the national commitment. It is, therefore, clear that the Government, too, seems to have agreed to lend the necessary support to the industry to adopt change in technology and approach to management issues. By any standard, this is a big development that needs to be welcomed by the people of India. They have every reason to feel happy that the Government and the corporate sector are together on an issue of immense importance.
When he addressed the World Economic Forum at Davos, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made direct and indirect references to India’s mindset honed by ancient wisdom. Quoting the Upanishads as well as Mahatma Gandhi, he had said clearly that while the world was retracting from its commitment to globalisation owing to intertwined economic interests, India found it easy to stand by its commitment simply because of its ethos of ages. He had reminded the world that India’s commitment to protecting and preserving the environment (climate) is ingrained in its thought-process which was shaped by the idea of universal obligation of sharing with all whatever the Divine has offered — Tyena Tyaktena Bhunjeetha (In sharing we believe) — as per an upanishadic assertion.
The latest “Declaration of Private Sector on Climate Change” is an outcome of that ethos which India carries on with most naturally, offering to the rest of the world an example of internally shared values for internationally accepted goals!
Of course, India’s journey to this point had not been easy or smooth. In fact, as a very rapidly growing economy, India’s industrial concerns were much larger than those of many other countries across continents. India also realised time and again that the developed world was taking countries like India — all eager to grow — for a ride by heaping on them obsolete technologies whose anti-environment quotient was unfortunately and dangerously high. India did not hide its displeasure about advanced nations for dumping outdated technology on developing or Third World countries. It did not mince words while attacking nations like the United States for raising issues such a human rights of work-force in terms of healthy and safe working conditions.
As India asserted its opinion on various global platforms — along with a few other countries — it did invite displeasure of many advanced nations in a big measure. Despite this, for decades on end, India kept asserting its values in regard to climate change and its respective responsibilities. In due time, the world started realising the strength in India’s patient argument — which is now visible in the respect India has rightly and rightfully earned over time from most nations. That is the reason why India was regarded as a global leader when the world sat down to finalise the Paris Climate Agreement.
Through this arduous path, India has made a tremendous progress in terms of its national commitment to sustainable climate goals. The “Declaration of Private Sector on Climate Change” is an outcome of that internal resolve to be at the forefront of the global fight against deterioration of ecology and economy on the whole.
Captains of Indian business deserve a pat of appreciation for resolving to go along with the Government on an issue that involves massive economic commitment. The leaders of the Government, too, deserve a full appreciation of their patience through time to build an internal discourse that is bound to become an issue of international envy in due course.
Fundamentally, for India, such a resolve was not a difficult proposition, as stated earlier. India believed fully the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi that Nature provides enough for everybody’s need, but not for anybody’s greed. It might have taken a long time finally to start acting on what the Mahatma had said on the basis of the country’s age-old wisdom. But finally, it has made peace with the national expediency and is well on course to meeting its own ecological obligations as per the Paris Climate Agreement. There may come some alterations in global vision on the subject, but India appears ready to accommodate those as well, thanks to its ancient wisdom and ethos.