ircular economy is a term gaining currency in India. NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said at a symposium organised by FICCI June 17, 2019, Monday, that the country has the potential to generate 1.4 crore jobs in 5-7 years by focusing on circular economy. The term ‘circular economy’ refers to an economic system wherein waste is minimised and energy leakage is mitigated by slowing, closing and narrowing energy and material loops. Long-lasting designs, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing and recycling are all characteristics of a circular economy. Chinese goods flooding Indian markets are examples of the opposite. Theirs is a paradigm where manufacturers of products are free of the responsibility of what happens to what they produce once they exit factory gates. Right from toys to LED lamps, smart phones and multifarious other products, Chinese goods of inferior quality have flooded garbage dumps worldwide. India, on the other hand, has been the recycling destination of global waste ranging from e-waste to ships past their working life. The irony, though, is that the country is facing a huge problem with wastes, particularly plastic waste. The time for profligate production and consumption is past. Every ounce of resource extracted from the Earth comes at the cost of untold misery for numerous plants, animals and humans. And organized protests are increasingly taking shape against this. Even where people are incapable of organizing themselves for protests, democratic norms should step in to protect the environment and people. According to one report, Adivasis living around the Kodingamali hill in Koraput district have launched a fresh agitation against the Odisha Mining Corporation demanding mining in the region to be stopped. Villages under eight panchayats of three blocks in the district are the worst affected by this mining and are on the warpath as the activity has not brought them livelihood but is heaping misery by way of pollution. Effluents released from the mine which started operations last year are polluting sources of water in the area. The mining corporation cannot be blamed for taking up the activity as there is a demand to be met. People are equally justified in seeking protection of their homes, land and livelihood. Much of the demand that exists currently can be met if a circular economy and responsible production is created. However, the concepts of circular economy could possibly vary. Economists, globally, definitely have several set notions about this phrase. One concept that was thrown around some time back in an article was of American origin. By saying ‘circular economy’, the writer had tried to impress that while reuse, remanufacturing and recycling are but an important part in this modern day, all those are aspects of manufacturing only. Obviously the economy is over and above manufacturing which is only a significant part of the whole. On the other hand, the writer tried to assert that circular meant a reassessment of the process of money being transacted. The more movement as opposed to amassing by governments or huge corporates, the greater the all round prosperity. Money movement always results in it trickling down where the lowest in the economic rung can access wealth. When money flow is controlled or stopped, as India witnessed in Demonetization or even when economic policies of a nation encourage the growth of a selected few individuals or business houses only, the number of prosperous people decreases. While saying this, one cannot be certain what the NITI Aayog CEO indicated by using the term ‘circular economy’. It is quite possible that what NITI Aayog understands or interprets, under present Indian climes, could be totally different on words, phrases and economic terminology than how the rest of the world may be debating or viewing them.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has drawn a response from the reticent former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The FM placed...Read more