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India’s Sustainability Transition: of What and for Whom?

Authored by Lydia Powell

(June 2014)

The domestic policies and international positions of the Indian government can be discerned on the right side of the sustainability discourse. India’s 12th, five year plan (2012‐2017), described in over a 1000 pages is based on the theme ‘faster, more inclusive and sustainable growth’. The word ‘sustainable’ appears over 200 times in the three volumes of the document which describe plans for sustaining everything from economic growth and finance to the environment and forests. The document affirms the government’s commitment to global sustainability by pointing out that India is a signatory to over 94 multilateral environmental agreements including the Kyoto Protocol. Unfortunately all these policy pronouncements are unlikely to put India on the path of true sustainability. There are two related but seemingly contradictory reasons for this.


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