ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sustainable Development through Diversifying Pathways in India

From groundwater depletion to toxic air pollution, modernising development pathways are linked with grave unsustainability challenges, as they extend the unbridled extraction of “goods” from nature while carelessly dumping back the “bads.” To move beyond this and to realise sustainable development, plural pathways may be required in each field, be it agriculture or housing. As outcomes of struggles for democracy and sustainability, these diversifying pathways may be structured around caring and cooperative (human–nature) relations.

After more than seven decades of postcolonial development, millions of people in India are enjoying comforts and conveniences of modern life. Average incomes have increased significantly. Many consume a wider diversity of goods. Urban and even rural lifestyles in parts of the country are dynamically infused with technological innovations, ranging from 4G (fourth generation of broadband cellular network technology) smartphones to 4-wheel drives. Many agrarian practices have been transformed too, through the adoption of techno-scientific artefacts, including hybrid and genetically-modified seeds, water pumps, tractors, chemical pesticides, and fertilisers.

These “modernising” technologies are embedded in wider socio-economic processes (that is, state–society and worker–employer relation and patterns of income and wealth inequality) and environmental dynamics (that is, pollution, groundwater depletion, etc). Crucially, they implicate a specific modality of human–nature relations, in which resources are “extracted” from nature to meet the demands of (some) humans, and the effluents and wastes produced in this process are “dumped” into nature. Modernising development thus extracts what it believes to be “good” from nature and dumps the “bads” it produces back into nature, effectively treating the earth as a giant sewer (Barry 2016). In order to do this, modernisation invents and uses a range of technosciences across multiple areas of activity from mobility to energy generation and agriculture.

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Updated On : 21st Nov, 2019
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