A critical analysis of the fiscal, food, fuel, frontiers, fragility of climate and functional democracy crisis Sifting through the shelves of a book store, one sometimes comes
across a book which is a compilation of articles. That can be putting
together of various articles on different topics by the same author,
even if there is little or no link between the write-ups. But there are a
few exceptions, of course.
One is certainly “Pathways to Sustainable Development….” Though it is
also a compilation of various articles dating back from 2005 to the
recent times, they share the same context and forcefully complement one
That the articles have appeared in mainstream English dailies, mainly The News,
over the last roughly one decade, gives the reader an opportunity to
see the issues, such as the food and fuel crises, in their proper
historical context and connect the dots.
As the cover of the book explains, the book is “a critical analysis
of the fiscal, food, fuel, frontiers, fragility of climate, and
functional democracy crisis.” The diagram on the title further shows how
all the crises stem from factors that are related to the whole picture
of the country’s economic status.
The preface of the book sets the tone as it explains what sustainable
development is, touching on the millennium development goals and their
centrality to the development of the third word, and then focusing on
the significance of the common people and their participation for the
solution of their problems.
Articles under the head of “fiscal crisis” throw ample light on the
loopholes in our fiscal policies, unrealistic budget estimations, and
seeing more taxes as the only panacea to make up for the budget deficit.
The next chapter on food crisis broadly outlines how a combination of
inflation, bad agricultural practices, and natural disasters can make
us food insecure. It also looks into how agriculture can play a role in
the development and economic well-being of a nation.
The segment under “frontiers crisis” takes a critical look at the
bumpy road of relations between India and Pakistan — the two
nuclear-armed neighbours. While the articles in this section openly
point to the hindrances in forming friendly relations between the two
nations, they also address the issues head on, giving suggestions and
enumerating the political, economic, and social benefits for the two
countries and the whole South Asian region. This chapter also has an
article on SAARC which mentions the causes of failure of this platform
and its importance for each and every country in the region.
There are two more sections in the book which are extremely
important. One is the crisis of functional democracy while the other
highlights lip-service we are paying to the reality of climate change.
The chapter on the functional democracy crisis sums up the gist of the
matter — the issue of civil-military relationship and the need to revise
The section on climate change should be enough to warn the policy
makers as well as the individuals of this country of the cost of
neglecting climate change, which is already happening at a fast speed.
This can be an essential reference book for students as well as
general readers interested in understanding issues with clarity and a
sense of history.
This article was originally published at:
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.