Ecology for Economy: By Richard Mahapatra


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Ecology for Economy: By Richard Mahapatra

  1. 1. Towards Green Villages: Biomass imperatives
  2. 2. Conspiracy of poverty <ul><li>India’s poverty line: Rs. 12/day in rural. Rs.18/day in urban India </li></ul><ul><li>More than 300 million people below this line (70% in rural) </li></ul><ul><li>Poverty > getting chronic, concentrated </li></ul><ul><li>Natural resource rich areas the poorest (60%) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Deep distress <ul><li>Economy grows at around 9%, agriculture at 2.3 % </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Food grain available: 152 kg /person (rural). 23 kg less than in 90s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>30% households eat less than 1,700 kilo calories per day/person </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rural poor spend 70 percent of income on food. Starvation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>57% of land facing degradation (increase of 53 percent since 1994) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Impact esp. on common lands & rain fed areas. About 68 percent of the net sown area drought prone . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>60% of cultivable areas are rainfed (no irrigation). Produce 42% of food </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2.5tons/ha productivity </li></ul></ul><ul><li>80 % of India’s landholding is less than one hectare </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The average annual land fragmentation is 2.7/land holding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>33% landless (22% in 1991-92) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Every second farmer today indebted. Suicides </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Decreasing agricultural yields increase demands on biomass </li></ul><ul><ul><li>impact fodder and fuel availability. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Poor agriculture = less cow dung (fertiliser) and agriculture residues (fuel and fodder). More stress on fuel wood. More stress on forests. Vicious circle </li></ul><ul><li>How to eke out sustainable livelihoods </li></ul><ul><li>from shrinking resources </li></ul>
  5. 5. The land-energy matrix in a Himalayan village
  7. 7. India: a biomass economy <ul><li>Ecology contributes 80 percent of income of poor </li></ul><ul><li>Around 29 percent of ‘national wealth’ sustains 60 percent of population </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘informal’ sector employs 92 percent of India. Private and public together only 8 percent </li></ul><ul><li>Over 60% people depend on agriculture, fisheries and forests </li></ul><ul><li>Agriculture: directly employs 234 million people </li></ul>
  8. 8. Forest-based livelihoods <ul><li>Forests directly employ 100 million people (250 mill. indirectly ) </li></ul><ul><li>Support 30% of fodder needs </li></ul><ul><li>Contribute to 40% of India’s energy needs (more than 80% in rural areas). 14 million headloaders. Environmental villain? </li></ul><ul><li>Minor produce , major impact </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tendu leaf collection (90 days employment to 7.5 million people + employs more than 3 million people in bidi processing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lac (resin) production employs 3 million people </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>About a million people dependent on sericulture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bamboo: Ten million employed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tassar silk cultivation: 126,000 households involved </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reeds (for making mats): More than 300,000 people involved </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gum collection employs 300,000 persons/day </li></ul></ul>
  9. 10. Demands on biomass will only grow <ul><li>Population is increasing by 2 per cent every year </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1 Ha sustains now four people, 1.5 people/Ha in 1980s </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Firewood production must increase from 100 million ton to 300 million tonnes </li></ul><ul><li>Green fodder production from about 230 million tonnes to 780 million tonnes. </li></ul><ul><li>India’s per capita forests decreasing: 0.08 Ha now, 0.20 in 1951 </li></ul><ul><li>Number of people dependent on forests is growing: from 184 million in 1996 to 226 in 2006. </li></ul><ul><li>Timber demand (both housing and industrial): from 23 million cubic metres to 29 million cubic metres in 2006. </li></ul><ul><li>Per capita consumption of paper rose from 3 kgs in 1995 to about 5 kgs in 2003 (in China it was 29.1 kg per person). In Asia, per capita paper consumption is five times higher than in India. </li></ul><ul><li>But overall biomass production in India seems to be declining rapidly </li></ul><ul><li>Around 240.62 million Ha of India’s 306.25 million Ha reported land are used for biomass production. Out of this only on a very small fraction of agricultural lands productivity has improved due to irrigation. On the rest, productivity has gone down. And it is declining. </li></ul>
  10. 11. under threat: Governance <ul><li>0.6 million villages, .23 million elected local governments, 3.8 million elected representatives </li></ul><ul><li>2.3 villages per Panchayat (in Assam, as high as 29 villages/Panchayat) </li></ul><ul><li>But a centralised approach: gradually the Federal government is in charge of resources </li></ul><ul><li>Those who take decisions are not the ones who have to live with the consequences of those decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Panchayats have all power over natural resources </li></ul><ul><li>Panchayats are regarded as implementing agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Only one state has devolved power </li></ul><ul><li>In tribal areas, it is in more distress </li></ul><ul><li>India has to make a fundamental shift to meet this challenge. </li></ul><ul><li>A shift in state’s role from an often-corrupt regulator of the micro-environment to the provider of an enabling and more market-friendly environment </li></ul>
  11. 12. Under threat: Shrinking commons, capital <ul><li>CPR, providential fund, is gone </li></ul><ul><li>From 55% in 1900 to 15% now, and declining </li></ul><ul><li>Evictions & Displacement: mining, dams, nature parks </li></ul><ul><li>2 million displaced but 255 rehabilitated </li></ul><ul><li>More than 1 million cases of tribal land alienation </li></ul><ul><li>Tribal people are at bottom of all human development index </li></ul><ul><li>Around US$100 billion investments in tribal areas, needing around 25% of total lands </li></ul><ul><li>125 reported struggles against land acquisition </li></ul>
  12. 13. Backlash: Red spread <ul><li>19% forests under the Maoists control </li></ul><ul><li>Already control 151 districts (out of 600) </li></ul><ul><li>Spreading at 2 districts/month </li></ul><ul><li>Spread almost by invitation. Talk about natural resources and rights </li></ul><ul><li>Govt. dares not enter </li></ul><ul><li>Development indicators poor in these areas </li></ul>
  13. 14. Growth vs. poverty <ul><li>Highest rate of economic growth in history </li></ul><ul><li>Lowest rate of agriculture growth in history </li></ul><ul><li>Employment per growth unit lowest ever, less than 1% </li></ul><ul><li>Rural unemployment at 9.1 percent, double in 2 decades </li></ul><ul><li>Poverty reduction slower during post-reform </li></ul><ul><li>Need 108 jobs a minute for the next five years </li></ul><ul><li>Can create 10 jobs from current growth </li></ul><ul><li>Ecology has huge potential: 110 jobs/minute </li></ul><ul><li>Need to redefine poverty </li></ul><ul><li>GNP is effective gross nature produce </li></ul>
  14. 15. NREGA: a panacea? <ul><li>First legal entitlement for job </li></ul><ul><li>India has history of 30 years of public works programme </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on ecological regeneration (assets) </li></ul><ul><li>Puts local government in charge </li></ul><ul><li>Scope for village-level planning </li></ul>
  15. 16. Wasteful <ul><li>60 years of targeted anti-poverty programmes </li></ul><ul><li>More than 2000 rural development programmes </li></ul><ul><li>Rs. 314 billion for poverty alleviation/year </li></ul><ul><li>Rs. 260 billion for food subsidy/year </li></ul><ul><li>Rs. 71 billion for irrigation/year </li></ul><ul><li>Rs. 6 billion for afforestation/year </li></ul><ul><li>Rs. 2,270 Billion to sustain the bureaucracy/annual </li></ul><ul><li>It takes Rs. 3.65 to transfer Rs. 1 programme money to poor </li></ul><ul><li>58% subsidised food doesn’t reach poor </li></ul><ul><li>1/3rd employment creation against target </li></ul>
  16. 17. Alternatives: Asserting rights <ul><li>What do you do when pushed to the wall? </li></ul><ul><li>Villages are asserting their rights using constitutional provisions </li></ul><ul><li>Many have declared themselves village republics </li></ul><ul><li>Have taken over natural resource management </li></ul><ul><li>Have built strong institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Have defined poverty as less access to resources </li></ul><ul><li>Have been able to self-sustain </li></ul>
  17. 18. Community-led sustainable development <ul><li>Sal leaf collection in Orissa: Generates 2.5 million jobs, has potential of 5 million </li></ul><ul><li>Gum collection in Gujarat: 0.3 million people employed </li></ul><ul><li>Pearl harvesting in Andamans: 1 small farm employs 500 people </li></ul><ul><li>All the villages have defined their poverty as lack of access to natural resources. Thus their primary effort has been to gain access to local resources </li></ul><ul><li>In all the cases strong community organisations have been built to fight outside interferences. </li></ul><ul><li>NREGA potential </li></ul>
  18. 19. Improving the Gross Nature Product Ecological Regeneration and its Impact on a Biomass-Based Village Economy Ecological Regeneration and Succession Stage and their associated Economic Impacts