Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
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This paper explores reforms in environmental and resettlement policies in India and the influence of domestic and external actors on the reform process. It also analyses the ways in which environment and resettlement policies have been implemented in a number of hydropower projects. At project level the analysis focuses on how state and non-state actors influence decision-making on the introduction of superior environmental and social standards through changes in policies and laws. At macro level, the study begins by describing the multilevel processes that govern dam decision-making. It then considers the legal and policylevel changes in the areas of environmental clearance and resettlement and the role played by state and non-state actors in the changes that have been made in the last three decades.
The dam projects selected are the Allain Duhangan Project, which is being funded by the International Finance Corporation, and the domestically funded Lower Subansiri and Dibang Multipurpose projects, the aim being to understand how superior social and environmental standards are put into practice and the role played by various state and non-state actors in this. The study argues that, at macro level, it is civil society which has been the major driver of change in the area of resettlement over the last three decades. In the environment arena the changes are the outcome of competing demands from civil society and growth-oriented ministries and departments of the Government of India. At project level, superior social and environmental standards are primarily driven by social mobilisation initiated by civil society. The presence of international actors like the International Finance Corporation, with superior social and environmental policies, catalyses the process.