FDI in Retail: A Disaster for Farmers, Consumers and Communities

PRESS RELEASE

FDI in Retail: A Disaster for Farmers, Consumers and Communities

New Delhi, November 29 : NAPM strongly opposes the Government of India‘s decision to increase the FDI limit to 51% in multi brand retail trade, and upto 100% in single brand retail trade with government approval. Even though the policy is conditional to the fact that it is applicable only in towns and cities with more than 10 lakh population as per 2011 census. 53 towns and cities fall under this category out of a total of 8000 towns and cities all over India. According to 2011 census, these 53 towns and cities cover 42% of the total urban population of India. Even though limited to 53 cities the effects of it will be felt all across since the sourcing of the commodities and provisions will be from all over the country.

Our experience in past twenty years of Liberalisation, Globalisation and Privatisation policies in all aspects has shown increase in inequality and deprivations, where the adivasis, dalits, farmers and workers, have suffered the most. The present Cabinet Decision will only enhance the problems due to privatisation, which is nothing but selling of country’s resources to private corporations. This controversial decision has led to the current logjam in the Parliament and outrage among the people. While we welcome the protests by political parties we urge them to address the wider question of economic reforms, which is pushing the aam admi to the brink of disaster, with high rates of inflation and increased prices all around.

FDI, PPP and other such joint ventures and liberalisation policies have damaged lives and livelihood of millions of people of this country. Entry of private corporations in energy sector has resulted in increased displacement, loot of natural resources; privatisation in agriculture has meant corporate and contract farming and farmer’s suicides on mass scale and growth of real estate all across the country has fuelled destruction and conflicts among the farmers in particular and caused misery to urban poor. FDI in retail will further push farmers and workers to impoverishment and unemployment. These sectors need more governmental support. Already 93% of workforce is in unorganised and unprotected sectors of work and this will add to further joblessness and violations of the rights of workers and urban poor.

The Centre’s decision is questionable. It must understand that retail in India comprises hawkers, family-run, street-corner stores which account for 97 per cent of business. Global retailers will destroy these domestic chains. It will also further intensify corruption, inequality and exploitation of the labourers and farmers.

NAPM strongly opposes any further push for these policies and demands an immediate roll back of these pronouncements and foreign trade agreements done under the pressure from WTO. It will be a mistake if the government forgets the broken Reliance Fresh stores in Indore, Kolkata and Ranchi in early 2007 and massive protests against KFC stores in 1996 in Banaglore. If the Government does not withdraw these decisions, People’s Movements and Trade Unions will be forced to start a massive protest throughout the country.

Medha Patkar, Sandeep Pandey, Adv. Sanjay Parikh, Ulka Mahajan, Prafulla Samantara, D. Gabriele, P. Chennaiah, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Anand Mazgaonkar, Sr. Celia, Suniti S. R., Rajendra Ravi, Kamayani Swami, Ashish Ranjan, Vimal Bhai, Bhupinder Singh Rawat, Madhuresh Kumar

National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office: Room No. 29-30, 1st floor, ‘A’ Wing, Haji Habib Bldg, Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (E), Mumbai – 400 014;
Ph: 022-24150529
6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
E-mail: napmindia@gmail.com | napm@napm-india.org
Web : www.napm-india.org

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Support Campaign – Denuclearization and Promotion of a Society Focused on Natural Energy – Japan

Support Campaign – Denuclearization and Promotion
of a Society Focused on Natural Energy – Japan
Dear Friends,
Greetings from Asian Center for the Progress of Peoples, Hong Kong!
On 8 November 2011, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan issued a statement from Sendai calling for the immediate abolition of all nuclear power plants in Japan in the wake of the tragic nuclear disaster of Fukushima. 
With reference to an earlier statement “Reverence for Life –A Message for the Twenty-First Century from the Catholic Bishops of Japan” (January 2001) which cautiously acknowledged nuclear power as a new source of energy for humanity, the statement from Sendai said the Fukushima tragedy “wiped out the ‘safety myth’, because people put too much trust in science and technology without having “the wisdom to know our limits””.   The statement likewise addresses some concerns that would inevitably arise from immediate abolition, such as energy shortage, and calls on “all residents of Japan” to recover the “culture, wisdom and tradition of co-existence with nature” and “choose anew a simple and plain lifestyle based on the spirit of the Gospel, like saving electricity”.  (See full statement attached.)
The Sendai statement supports an ongoing campaign for denuclearization and promotion of a society focused on natural energy which can be found in the website of the Japan Catholic Council for Justice and Peace (http://web.me.com/jccjp/justice_and_peace/English.html ) .  The Citizens’ Committee for the 10 Million Peoples’ Petition to say Goodbye to Nuclear Power Plants is collecting signatures from all over Japan and across the world. 
In the spirit of solidarity and if you are convinced that nuclear power plants pose more threat than opportunity for humankind, please help collect signatures for the campaign.  (See attached Petition and signature sheet.)
Please note that the promoters of the campaign are asking for “personally signed petitions” which they believe is still more forceful in Japan than internet-based signature campaigns.  Here are their instructions:

1. The petition consists of two pages which have to be submitted together. Please staple the 1st page with the petition text and the 2nd page with your signatures together.
2. The English petition is addressed to the present Japanese Prime Minister. It is valid even in case the Prime Minister changes. When our organization will submit the petitions, we make sure that the legal requirements for a valid petition are observed.
3. Please send the petition by postal mail (fax is not valid) to the following address:
Citizens’ Committee for the 10 Million People’s Petition to say Goodbye to Nuclear Power Plants
c/o Gensuikin, 1F 3-2-11 Kanda Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0062, JAPAN
4. The final deadline of this petition is February 28, 2012. However, we have set two intermediary deadlines: September 10, 2011 and December 20, 2011. PLEASE SEND YOUR SIGNED PETITIONS BEFORE DECEMBER 20 AND/OR FEBRUARY 28.
5. Some further notes: 
  • You can write your name and address in your native language.
  • Petitions from foreign citizens living outside Japan are valid as long as the petition is addressed to the Japanese Prime Minister. In case the petition is addressed to the National Diet (House of Representatives) or the Upper House, petitions from foreigners living outside Japan are not valid.
  • There is no age limit.  Signatures from children are also valid.
  • In principle, a petition has to be signed personally. In case of children or disabled persons, it is accepted if someone signs the petition on the person’s behalf.
 The Bishops actually expressed regret that they did not go so far as to urge the immediate abolition of nuclear plants in their 2001 statement.  However, the grey area where benefits and dangers equally lurk is characteristic of the many issues that we face today and hence the need for discernment and constant re-valuing. 
Support the denuclearization campaign.  Let the bishops’ call echo to “all residents of Japan”, and all inhabitants of Earth, and may the value of Life prevail.
 
 “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”      – Martin Luther King, Jr

Mary’s Bar

Subject: Understanding the U.S.Economy 

Mary is the proprietor of a bar in Dublin.

She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar. To solve this problem, she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).

Word gets around about Mary’s “drink now, pay later” marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Mary’s bar. Soon she has the largest sales volume of any bar in Dublin.

By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands, Mary gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages. Consequently, Mary’s gross sales volume increases massively. A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes that these customer debts constitute valuable future
assets and increases Mary’s borrowing limit. He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral.

At the bank’s corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into DRINKBONDS, ALKIBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These securities are then bundled and traded on international security markets. Naive investors don’t really understand that the securities being sold to them as AAA secured bonds are really the debts of unemployed
alcoholics. Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb, and the
securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation’s leading brokerage houses.

One day, even though the bond prices are still climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Mary’s bar. He so informs Mary.

Mary then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but being unemployed alcoholics they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Since, Mary cannot fulfill her loan obligations she is forced into bankruptcy. The bar closes and the eleven employees lose their jobs.

Overnight, DRINKBONDS, ALKIBONDS and PUKEBONDS drop in price by 90%. The collapsed bond asset value destroys the banks liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.

The suppliers of Mary’s bar had granted her generous payment extensions and had invested their firms’ pension funds in the various BOND securities. They find they are now faced with having to write off her bad debt and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds. Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.

Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multi-billion euro no-strings attached cash infusion from their cronies in Government. The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, non-drinkers who have never been in Mary’s bar.

Now, do you understand economics in the US in 2010-11?

On an empty stomach

On an empty stomach

InpaperMagzine

November 20, 2011

Moniza Inam explores the policy factors which have turned many a farmer’s life upside down, depriving him of his crop, and even two square meals a day

Allah Dino, a farmer residing in a southern district of Sindh, owned a medium-size farm where he cultivated various cash and food crops. On a small patch of this farm, he also grew vegetables for his own consumption and at times he would barter these.
From this produce, he saved some for his family and the next year’s cultivation. His wife kept hens, goats and a cow to fulfil their dairy and protein needs and they lived a relatively happy and contented life.

Over the last decade, he was asked to use certified seeds and unlike the indigenous varieties, these crops needed excessive water, fertilisers and insecticides. Using the modern techniques, he says, eventually his land began losing its fertility. The inputs used to farm these crop species were expensive and with declining productivity from loss of fertility, he soon found himself in debt. After last year’s flood, his crop yield was destroyed and he went bankrupt.

Left without a choice, he had to migrate to Karachi, where he now lives in an empty plot next to a drain and his wife is employed as a domestic helper while his children roam the streets. More often than not, their household income cannot satisfy their family’s appetite and they end up sleeping hungry.

Allah Dino barely understands the policies which changed his life and instead blames it on luck and floods. He is amongst the thousands of farmers, urban poor and landless peasants who face similar conditions and have had their lives turned upside down by policies and interventions beyond their control.

In a rather economic and technical jargon, they are victims of the Structural Adjustment Programme, trade liberalisation, globalisation, privatisation, regulation, climate change, green revolution and genetically modified seeds, amongst others.
Politics of developed against the developing world, multinational corporation greed, protectionism and trade agreements like Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (Trips), Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), General Agreement on Trade and Agreement (GATT), World Trade Organisation (WTO), also play a role in engineering systemic hunger.

But as they often say, every cloud has a silver lining; likewise, countless activists and organisations globally are now protesting against such gross injustices and corporate greed and have devised a better concept which is capable of measuring food security, also known as food sovereignty. In a nutshell, food sovereignty is “the right of people, communities, and countries to define their own agricultural, labour, fishing, food and land policies, which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to their unique circumstances.

“It includes the true right to food and to produce food, which means that all people have the right to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food and to food-producing resources and the ability to sustain themselves and their societies.” –Food sovereignty: a right for all, political statement of the NGO/CSO Forum for Food Sovereignty, Rome, June 2002.

With this concept now making its way to Pakistan’s policy discourse, conditions seem rather bleak as the Sustainable Development Policy Institute’s (SDPI) report on food crisis suggests that nearly 48.6 per cent of the population lacks food security. This scenario presents a Herculean challenge for development experts given that Pakistan is an agrarian country, and supposedly, ‘food self-sufficient’ for that reason.

Explaining the correlation between food sovereignty and hunger in Pakistan, Najma Sadeque, Director of the Green Economics Initiative, Shirkat Gah, (which focuses on globalisation issues and ecological agriculture, especially for women), says, “Hunger and malnutrition were not endemic in South Asia in pre-independence times. Even landless rural people had customary access to land to fulfil family food needs. British colonisers brought mass hunger and malnutrition to the subcontinent—24 famines during their stint here! The best lands were forced under selected crops to feed their Industrial Revolution.

“When peasants are deprived of land or a say in what they grow, they lose their sovereignty and fundamental rights.” This loss has affected over a billion people the world over. It’s the new internal colonisation—local oppressors replacing or acting on behalf of long-gone foreign ones,” adds Sadeque.

Different environmental, socio-structural, cultural, governance and economic reasons contribute to the constraints which the agriculture sector faces. Amongst cultural factors, there is long-standing structural discrimination in the farming sector against small farmers. Governance and policy fiascos, including economic liberalisation, have reduced the capacity to support small scale food producers and make them extremely dependent on market economy.

Another phenomenon is landlessness, the concentration of land in the hands of few individuals, institutions or corporate entities. As the government has not invested adequately in agriculture and implementation of redistributive land reforms, socio-structural problems are aggravated by policy and governance failures. Incompetent governance has failed to promote sustainable model of production which has intensified land grabbing, commercialisation of natural resources, loss of common properties and forced eviction of vulnerable groups and rural to urban migration.

Furthermore, farmers are, on the one hand, steadily losing income due to the high input costs and, on the other hand, due to price volatility their purchasing power has been compromised. Also, climate change is threatening the already fragile eco system by frequent flooding, droughts and irregular precipitation patterns. Last but nor the least, corporate farming is increasing water and sea pollution affecting the livelihoods of the peasants and fishermen.

Marginalisation and social injustice are caused directly by rulers and vested interests, says Sadeque. Governments can remove them if they genuinely want to. Global hunger and extreme inequality did not occur because people brought it upon themselves. “It happened because governments, whether by design or ignorance, introduced policies that caused deprivation by enriching the few,” she adds.

“Large-scale industrial chemical monoculture has degraded most of the world’s farmlands. The UN concedes only traditional organic practices can repair the damage. The previous government introduced corporate farming—lease of thousand-acre blocs to foreign investors was allowed to repatriate all output and profits without tax in the first decade. By then the soil would have been done to death. Instead of the present government abandoning this policy and redistributing land amongst the landless, it has gone along with the instituted practice wholeheartedly.

“Even the media fails to highlight agriculture as the most indispensable sector in the world, historically providing employment to two-thirds of populations—the sole source of food and essential raw materials,” says Sadeque.

“Local priorities come before global,” she emphasises, “Before catering to global financial and trade interests, and feudalism disguised as capitalism, countries have to fulfil their own people’s needs. That’s what governments are elected for—not to make a buck for themselves and their cronies,” concludes Sadeque.

Note: Please see the attachments for further information about the issues of food crisis and need for food sovereignty.

 

NAPM strongly condemns this high handedness of the Odisha state and continued repression in Narayanpatna.

Dear All,
NAPM strongly condemns this high handedness of the Odisha state and continued repression in Narayanpatna. We demand justice and reiterate the support to the democratic struggles of the people of Narayanpatna.
In Solidarity,
NAPM Conveners team

STOP STATE TERRORISM ON THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT IN NARAYANPATNA

23 November 2011

BHUBANESWAR

On 20 November 2011, we, the undersigned, were heading towards Podapadar village in Narayanpatna block of Koraput district where the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) was to organize a public meeting to pay tribute to the sacrifices made by two of their frontline leaders, Wadeka Singana and Nachika Andrew, who had fallen prey to state terror two years back on the same day. On 20 November 2009, hundreds of ‘unarmed’ adivasis had assembled at the Narayanpatna police station to register their protest democratically against untold excesses committed by police and paramilitary forces on them in the pretext of combing operations. But, the police – in the most undemocratic and barbaric manner – indiscriminately fired at the people in which Wadeka Singana and Nachika Andrew fell dead inside premises of the police station and several were wounded.

The CMAS has been fighting to restore the rights of native communities over their own land and resources, to shut down illegal liquor shops, and to reclaim their cultural ethos on face of the hegemony established by non-adivasi landlords, moneylenders, and bootleggers. The democratic movement has questioned the unconstitutional manner in which the state had played facilitator to the cultural and economic appropriation in a ‘scheduled’ area. The CMAS has also strongly come in the way of the state’s nefarious plans to hand over the Deo Mali range to mining hawks for profits at the cost of the economy and culture of the local adivasis. To ensure protection to the land-grabbers, liquor traders, and corporate interests, a state of terror has been let loose in the area, with police and paramilitary forces given impunity for their excesses.

As we were travelling in a vehicle passing through Bandhugan and then Narayanpatna, the expected buzz in the atmosphere on this important day was somehow conspicuously absent. However, no one could miss to notice the heavy, intimidating presence of armed BSF men along the road in the adivasis heartland: some of them roaming about with fierce, suspicious eyes and some standing on guard waiting to fire at some dreaded ‘enemies of the state’ about to appear somewhere. We drove past a BSF camp in Bandhugan and another in Narayanpatna, and no sooner we sighted yet another at Basnaput village, we bumped into a roadblock. At least a dozen gun-trotting BSF men were standing on our way, besides the road being clogged-up with logs and stones by them. Podapadar was still two kilometres away.

The BSF men stopped our vehicle and asked us to turn back, despite them being introduced to the team that comprised media persons, social activists, and writers. We tried to convince them for hours that the forces had no constitutional right to curb free movement of any citizen and that the public meeting called by the CMAS at Podapadar was well within democratic sanctions and, therefore, they had no right to stop or intimidate people coming to attend the meeting. We were, in turn, kept engaged by the BSF men and the thana in-charge of Narayanpatna in meaningless discussions without them giving any appropriate reason for not allowing us to proceed. They kept repeating some hollow explanations: “We are instructed from higher authorities not to let anyone go beyond this point” or “Maoists have laid landmines on the way” and so on. The district collector on phone expressed ignorance about any such order ‘from above’ to stop people while the Koraput SP did not pick his phone. Interestingly, right at that point, a tractor was allowed to go ahead on the way where ‘Maoists had laid landmines’, and about an hour later, the same tractor came back unscathed. After more than three hours of debate, we had no option other than returning from Basnaput village.

On our way back, between Basnaput and Bandhugan, we met several people who narrated to us how the paramilitary forces had attacked and brutally beaten them up when more than a thousand people were peacefully marching towards Podapadar to join the event. Even women and children were not spared; a 12-year-old boy looked terrified and baffled as he showed us his badly swollen face and narrated the assault on the people! Later in the day, we further learned that police and paramilitary forces had forcefully stopped and terrorized at different places thousands of people coming to join the meeting from various directions. Despite such air of terror unleashed all around by the forces, more than 5000 people had assembled at the Shahid Stambha (martyr’s pillar) at Podapadar. The forces reached there too in the afternoon and started beating up the people mercilessly in attempts to disperse them. Several people were injured, some severely, and at least three of them have been arrested. In the evening, at around 9 pm, we got the news that police had demolished the Shahid Stambha for the second time within a year. This is an extremely obnoxious act of cultural violence in which people are denied their fundamental right to remember and pay homage to their dead ones.

Having witnessed firsthand a day of intimidation and terror in the Narayanpatna block, the stark images of a ‘police state’ and repression on people’s democratic voices only came clearer to us at the end of the day. And, from that, arise many a question:

  •  The CMAS and the people of Narayanpatna are fighting to restore their due rights over land and resources, which the state should rather be facilitating to ensure. Why is the state treating them as dreaded criminals instead? Has the state already decided to abandon the Constitution?
  • Under which law is the martyr’s day observed by the people of Narayanpatna an unlawful act that the state let loose such large number of police and paramilitary forces to stop it by terrorizing and brutally beating up innocent people?
  • Have we already formally become a ‘police state’ that freedom of expression and free movement of ordinary citizens are crushed in such barefaced manners?
  • Why is the state so evidently reluctant to settle land disputes in the area? Why are hundreds of people who simply asked for their due rights over their own land still languishing in jail, and those who have been perpetrating untold violence on the local people are given state protection?
  • If the state claims to have any respect for the Constitution, we expect it to meet our following demands IMMEDIATELY:
  1. Withdraw the entire paramilitary forces from Narayanpatna.
  2. Release all the people of Narayanpatna who have been illegally put behind bars.
  3. Withdraw all the cases falsely registered against hundreds of adivasis in the Narayanpatna area, including those against CMAS leader Nachika Linga.
  4. Settle all land disputes in the area after duly consulting the local people.
  5. Scrap all the MoUs with corporate and government entities relating to mining on the Deo Mali range.

 And we appeal to all democratic forces to join us in condemning and protesting against such atmosphere of terror being unleashed by the state in Narayanpatna.

 Sincierly,

 RABI DAS, Senior Journalist and Editor, Ama Rajadhani

PRAFULLA SAMANTARA, Convenor, Lokshakti Abhiyan Odisha, and Convenor, NAPM

DANDAPANI MOHANTY, Convenor, Odisha Jan Adhikar Manch

LENIN KUMAR, Writer, and Editor, Nisan

SUBRAT KUMAR SAHU, Independent Filmmaker and Journalist

 contact: Lenin Kumar-9437293983

National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office: Room No. 29-30, 1st floor, ‘A’ Wing, Haji Habib Bldg, Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (E), Mumbai – 400 014;
Ph: 022-24150529
6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
E-mail: napmindia@gmail.com | napm@napm-india.org
Web : www.napm-india.org

India CDM Scam – Press Release

PRESS RELEASE 

23rd November 2011

NEW REPORT BY NFFPFW AND OTHERS QUESTION CLIMATE POLICY 

CORPORATE SCAM IN THE NAME OF CDM REVEALED

Rapid increase in atmospheric concentration of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (CH4, N2O, NO*) since about 1850 has raised numerous questions of global significance. For over 200 years, industries of the world have been transferring fossil carbon from underground deposits of coal, gas and oil to a more potent and rapidly active circulating carbon dump in the entire biosphere including the air, oceans, soil and the vegetation. If this trend goes on, and every year around six additional billion tons of carbon gets released into the atmosphere, then a time will come when earth would probably become inhabitable. It was the turn for the community of nations—especially developed countries who have been largely responsible for more than 60% of total greenhouse gases added to the biosphere in last hundred years—to take initiatives to reduce their carbon emissions.

 

The inter-governmental efforts which culminated in the Kyoto Protocol and a pledge to reduce GHGs in a time-bound manner raised hopes. But the post-Kyoto developments sadly belied those hopes, as instead of initiating definitive emission-cutting measures the protocol became an ‘environmental’ excuse for rich nations and their polluting, GHG-emitting Corporations to start a quixotic and absurd trade in the World’s climate, mainly its carbon–absorbing capacity. An environmental challenge, and a natural disaster of the greatest magnitude, turned into an economic opportunity for the rich and powerful of the world, and the absurd trade in GHG replaced the real and tangible measures that could have proved effective to actually combat climate change.

Carbon Trade is the formulae with which governments, corporations and consumers of the era of globalization propose to keep climate change at bay, and go about their businesses-as-usual. No physical or actual reduction of GHGs responsible for global warming takes place, and no consumer consume less. Yet, if we have to believe the Carbon traders, the trade is ‘working’, and we have the situation in control. Emissions are going down.

It is the worst lie ever told.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), instead of ensuring real and measurable GHG emission reduction, has become an important part of the global carbon market that grew rapidly once the Kyoto Protocol came into force. Instead of promoting sustainable development in developing countries or resulting in actual emission reduction, during the last few years the CDM aroused only a worldwide interest in carbon investment; the ‘mechanism’, instead of providing incentives for a low-carbon and equitable growth trajectory in the industrially aspirant developing economies of the world, has become an instrument of the global carbon market as many said it was bound to be. Despite a current slump in the global market, in India CDM projects are still going strong in the sense that the number of projects seem to be increasing.

Ever since the unique mitigation strategy of carbon trading was conceptualized in the Kyoto Protocol, India seems to have been one of the busiest countries to put the concept into action. By the end of June, 2011, India had 645 CDM projects registered with the UNFCCC, 261 of which had already been issued 93834 kCERs. At that point of time, India accounted for 1603 CDM projects (it has since gone up to 1914, as of 8th November 2011), including the registered and CER-issued ones, with 922 at validation, and another 36 at various stages of registration. Taken together, the projects claim to reduce a whooping 444293 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2012(meaning that the same amount of tradable CERs will be credited to the projects, if UNFCCC registers them all). The corresponding figures for 2020 are 1516432 ktCO2meaning that, taken together, the projects will reduce about 1520 million tonnes of Green House Gases. Looking at India’s CDM scenario in terms of corporate participation, we find that the energy efficiency sector, including HFC, is generating the maximum CERs. Big corporations such as Tata, ITC, Reliance, Ambuja, Birla, Bajaj, GFL, HFL, NFIL, and many others, who ritually emit millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide into the biosphere earn handsome returns in the name of ’clean development mechanism’. The current market price of a ton of CO2 reduced and sold in form of CERs in the global market is anywhere between 6 and 10 Euros, even in this ‘bearish’ situation, whereas the most optimists of carbon consultants would not have given more than 5 dollars in 2005!

The corporate hegemony over Indian CDM seems to be no less than absolute. Profits not only from large industries hosting energy-efficiency projects, but also relatively low-key and ‘sustainable’ renewable-energy projects in the biomass and wind sectors went to the corporate sector up to 16th May 2011, corporations collared about 90 percent of the country total of 8108 kCERs issued to biomass projects, and they also own most of the CDM wind projects in India.

Some of the profit figures for companies engaged in the carbon trade are astounding. Till early 2008, the Jindal group made 11-billion rupees (and perhaps more) from selling supposedly ‘reduced emissions’ (1.3-million CERs) at their steel plant in Karnataka. The Tata Motors sold 163,784 CERs from clean wind projects at 15.7 euros/CER in 2007. Tatas’ sponge iron projects in Orissa are set to yield 31,762 CERs every year. Reliance publicly boasts of its CDM Kitty—with seven registered projects with an annual CER-potential of 88,448 (till 2007 December),four more CDM projects under validation with an annual total of 149,533 CERs, and seven more potential CDM projects to generate about 4 lakh CERs per year. In 2007/08 alone, the GFCL group’s earning from carbon money was thrice its total corporate profits (after tax).

The main problem with these projects’ claims of reducing GHG Emissions is that there is no credible way to verify these claims. Dirty and utterly ineligible projects routinely sail through, without bothering to clean up their acts. Though the projects are ‘validated’ by overseas ‘agencies’ like DNV, who certify that the projects validated by them are ‘in effect’ reducing emissions, there is no monitoring of the validating agencies themselves, many of whom have been accused of half-done and highly manipulative jobs.

Though there is a proviso in the CDM mechanism that the projects must result in all-round sustainable development and benefit communities where those are located, the CDM projects in India barefacedly violate the sustainability criteria. Because the Indian government doesn’t have any regulatory mechanism to enforce compliance, this practice goes on unchecked.

Instances of irregularities and fraud cut across sectors. Several large thermal power plants in India have applied for CDM status of late and two of those are already registered with UNFCCC (the Tiroda Plant by the Adani group, and the Sasan Plant by the Reliance) despite complaints of large-scale land grab and rampant pollution at the project sites in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh(see case studies).

Irrespective of sectors, all CDM projects the present Report covers so far display a surprising uniformity in community level impacts: they pollute (large and small industrial projects including the so-called ‘clean’ biomass power projects), displace (‘renewable’ and ‘green’ wind power and large and small hydro, large industrial projects) and destroy or enclose commons (forests, agricultural fields, pastures). Not a single project was found to yield any discernible benefits for the local economy, society and environment. CDM projects generated no new jobs apart from a few temporary posts of security guards here and there, and all tall talks of corporate social responsibility etc disappeared once a project got going.

The Research Report titled The Indian CDM: Subsidizing and Legitimizing Corporate Pollution raises these issues and questions. Edited by Soumitra Ghosh and Subrat Kumar Sahu, the Report contains the findings of a study that looked at 34 CDM projects spread in 8 Indian States, especially the impacts of such projects on local communities, apart from a detailed analysis of the Indian CDM Scenario. The Research was done by National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (NFFPFW) in collaboration with NESPON and DISHA, both environmental groups based in West Bengal.

At a meeting was jointly organized by NFFPFW, Focus on the Global South and SANDRP, the Report was formally released in Indian Social Institute, Delhi on 23rd November, by Praful Bidwai, the noted columnist.

The Report Release program was jointly organized by the National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers, Focus on the Global South and South Asian Network of Dams, Rivers and People.

Released Jointly By NFFPFW, NESPON and DISHA