By D.N. Singh
It was an interesting mix of reactions on the Union Budget 2019 where panellists drawn from various hues aired their opinions. Politicians, economists and journalists donning the garb of economists, had opportunities to say a thing or two about it, taking resort in a few and often heard economic jargons like productivity, upward or downward graphs of economic growth, sustainability, futuristic, wave of entrepreneurship spirit, FPOs, FDIs and so on. An array of academic twisters except one thing that common man could understand clearly is, petrol and diesel would cost Rs.1 more.
In the whole exercise of statistical warfare, what was painfully missing was the bold mention of the most significant concern that the entire globe is preparing to battle out — the climate change. One does not know if the budget, in any way, is concerned with the weather extremes those stare at all of us.
It is not about the stimulated debates lacing the space in the media but the impacts on the ground at random. In India, a major part of the country is prone to a cyclic invasion by inland flooding or oceanic disasters or extreme heat.
Obviously the ones scripting the budget speeches or drawing the road map are rarely exposed to the above menaces. Fairly recently a news came about the rise in temperature in France experienced a record 44 degree Celcius, reminiscing the 2003 European heat wave, the 1999 Super Cyclone that ravaged half of coastal Odisha in India, or the Atlantic hurricanes or Fani, the recent cyclone which hit Odisha, are all pointing at one thing — potential increase in such extremes.
And, it is going to be an ongoing cycle given what is being said by experts and what people themselves experience on the ground.
An article by Jack Peat in The London Economic, on May 31 2019 , asked: “Why countries should ditch economic growth as a political priority.” By that the author has ostensibly tried to say that whether world should allow the monster of climate change to outlive the humanity or vice versa.
Utmost priority is being given to the climate change aspect by a majority of countries and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reportedly earmarked a budget in this regard where human welfare will occupy the major importance.
All the glories of growth and development can only enjoy priority when the world we live in is safe from the disasters.