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Impact of Changing Economic Policies

R. Rajamani

Edited by Pushpam Kumar and Sudhakar Reddy
Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2007, pp. 404, Rs. 1100.00


This volume is an effort to focus attention of economists primarily and also policymakers and citizens on the impact of changing economic policies on natural resourccs , their management and the overall influence of these on human well-being. It is based on papers discussed in the Fourth Biennial Conference of The Indian Society for Ecological Economics on the theme of “Ecology and Human Well-being”, and is an encouraging addition to the growing literature on economic valuation of the natural resource base keeping in mind its sustainability. Ecological economics is coming of age and even if it occupies a niche in the framework of total economic theory, its contribution to the cause of human well being by highlighting the problems and issues involved in safeguarding the environment and inter as well as intra generational equity and also by suggesting the contours of possible solutions, will be invaluable. The National Conservation Strategy document of the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1992 (before the Rio Summit on Environment and Development) draws attention to the need to engage in Natural Resource Accounting and Budgeting as a precursor to sustainable Development .The efforts of ecological economists will be a valuable instrument in this endeavour.   When we read this volume in this backdrop, we find it addresses five issues. The first one relates to Ecological and Social resilience. This has four papers. The first on Social resilience of the Riverbank Erosion Displacees in Bangladesh points out that the displaces are left to their own devices in being socially resilient and engaging in corrective rather than preventive measures and the need for Government and NGO’s to respond and help the displacees. In the second paper dealing with the impact on dryland ecosystems in a district in Andhra Pradesh due to environmental degradation , the author points out that the degradation of land and water sources makes the people vulnerable and stresses the need for institutional and policy measures for enhancing ecological and social security. In passing, it may be observed that land reforms is not a strong prescription suggested even though the land distribution pattern is skewed. The third paper looks at salinity ingress and ground water depletion in Coastal Gujarat and tries to value the changes in the ecosystems due to human action like overexploitation of ground water and deterioration of water quality for consumption. The paper does not deal much with the solutions to be sought ...

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