Fighting Climate Change Needs Climate Justice, Says India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on Friday. Credit: PTI Photo by Subhav Shukla

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on Friday. Credit: PTI Photo by Subhav Shukla

New York: After having made economic development and foreign investment a centrepiece of his U.S visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, turned his attention towards poverty, the ill-effects of climate change and sustainable development in his address to the United Nations.

Marking a crucial difference between climate change and climate justice, Mr. Modi pointed out that India was on a sustainable path towards prosperity by focussing on energy efficiency, carrying out afforestation on a large scale and cleaning up rivers.

“The bedrock of our collective enterprise is common but differentiated responsibilities. When we speak of climate change, there is a hint unspoken of safeguarding what we already have. But when we speak of climate justice, then the responsibility of saving the poor from the vagaries of climate is something that will help us evolve positive thoughts,” he said in his 13-minute speech to the General Assembly.

This strand of thought was peppered throughout his address; coming up once again while chiding the economic development dichotomy of public sector and private sector. “What we [India] have done is focus on a new sector which we have defined as a personal sector of individual enterprise. So we have public, private and personal. We refer to this sector of individual enterprise as one that includes microfinance, innovation and start-ups,” he said.

The Prime Minister also stressed that international partnerships, or  “the very reason that all countries were gathered in the United Nations” this weekend, were crucial in efforts directed towards development or the challenges of climate change.

Quoting and referring to Jan Sangh ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya, Modi also placed particular emphasis on the elimination of poverty, pointing out that it wasn’t just a question of moral responsibility.

“The question we face is not just how to meet the needs of the poor. And nor is it simply a question of the dignity and respect of the poor. If our shared vision is that of a just world, a peaceful world, and a world with sustainable development then this will never be possible as long as there is poverty. Eliminating poverty, therefore, is really the highest obligation we have.”

He also echoed the passionate plea of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had spoken just before Prime Minister Modi, for reform of the United Nations Security Council, referring it to as a question of “greater credibility and legitimacy”. If the United Nations had a more broadbase representation, it would be “more effective in reaching its goals.”

The Wire is covering the UNGA session at the invitation of the United Nations

  • hemenparekh

    Start-Up Eco-Systems / USA vs INDIA

    Whereas there is a lot to learn from Start Up
    Eco-System of Silicon Valley , it cannot be blindly replicated in India

    Here is why :

    In Silicon Valley , a typical start up has its roots in

    These are web sites / mobile apps focusing on,

    * E Commerce

    * Social Media

    * Price

    * Geo-location

    * Dating

    * Buying –


    In India , we are talking of getting ” Unemployed
    ” to launch ” Start Ups ”

    Anywhere between 100 million to 400 million ” Unemployed
    ” for whom neither Public Sector nor Private Sector , is in any position
    to create jobs

    We want them to become ” Self Employed ” –
    what Shri Narendra Modi described in USA , as our ” Personal Sector ”

    They are unlikely to launch Web-based businesses , even
    if their businesses will require them to have a Smart phone , on which , their
    customers can reach them

    They aspire to become :

    * Street-side
    Vendors ( Vegetables / shoes / purses / Fruits / trinkets )

    * Craftsmen (
    Plumber / Electrician / Carpenter / Repairer )

    * Dhobi / Barber
    / Pan Beedi shop-owner / Tailor / Mochi

    * Doodh-wala / Ruddi
    Paper-wala / Gajra-wala / Delivery Boy

    * Cook / Maid /
    Courier / Tuition teacher / beautician / Taxi Driver

    * Home-cooked
    Tiffin Service / Car wash / Gardening

    The contrast ( from Silicon Valley ) is striking !

    How can we help millions of jobless to set up such micro
    businesses ?

    As USA entrepreneurs advised :

    By Government ( Central / State / Municipal ) getting
    out of their way !

    How ?

    * No licenses /
    permits / approvals / registrations

    * No personal
    Income tax ( a dejure recognition of
    a defacto situation )

    I hope Policy Makers will think ” Out of Box
    ” and implement ,

    Start Up Act – 2015

    Anything less just won’t make much difference !


    hemen parekh