Even before the all-party delegation comprising 39 political leaders visited the curfew-bound Kashmir Valley, it was clear that it would accomplish very little barring gaining some acquaintance with people’s perceptions of the ground situation. There was wide divergence among its member-parties on the basic approach to be adopted towards Kashmir. Logically, an all-party delegation can be productive only if it conveys a strong, broad political consensus. But the Centre manifestly failed to evolve a consensus. Instead, it substituted the all-party delegation for it.
Business must fulfil these obligations in real, substantial, measurable ways—not with vague promises of corporate social responsibility. As the Bhopal case and its toxic aftermath shows, CSR means very little. It is time Indian business rose above the sordid social standards it has long taken for granted.
Clearly, India must tighten its regulations to protect land, water, air, forests and coastline. This is a top priority related to the survival and well-being of the people. Dr Singh is sending out the message that the environment is dispensable. We can allow it to be destroyed to promote growth. He must revise his views on environmental deregulation. Or we’ll all have to pay the price for his myopic obsession with GDPism and pampering of Big Business.
The visit of the all-party delegation to Jammu and Kashmir wasn’t, and couldn’t have been, a spectacular success. It didn’t have a mandate based on a broad policy consensus. It was preceded by little sounding out of different strands of opinion in the curfew-bound Valley. It was led by one of the architects of India’s recent Kashmir policy which has left the Valley bleeding, under prolonged curfew, and with a death-toll exceeding 100.