New Delhi: Former environment minister Jairam Ramesh today virtually backed the NGO Greenpeace in the backdrop of an Intelligence Bureau report warning that the NGO is a threat to the country’s economic growth.
While stressing on the need to restore the lagging economy, Ramesh said India cannot afford to adopt “a model of grow now and pay later” and emphasised the need to make technological and investment choices to achieve green growth.
“Greenpeace has a domestic funding largely. A large number of local philanthropists have funded Greenpeace,” Ramesh said at an event jointly organised by think-tank ICRIER, World Bank and Global Green Growth Institute.
Admitting that the NGO had made his life miserable when he was an environment minister, he said, “There were protests on Bt brinjal and other issues. But I don’t believe that shedding Greenpeace off, does success or credit to us as an open and liberal democracy.”
The government cannot ask NGOs to stop their protest because their job as a protester is to protest, while the job of a government is to govern, he said.
Hoping that the controversy surrounding NGOs dies down soon, Ramesh said one should be open to all kinds of views because “having contradictions, complexities and conflicts are essential elements of economic growth.”
“I hope this debate will settle down. I hope both sides will talk to each other and not talk at each other,” he added.
IB, in its report ‘Impact of NGOs on Development’, said that NGOs and their international donors are planning to target many fresh economic development projects including those in Gujarat.
Responding to the charge, Greenpeace said the report was “designed to silence civil society who raise their voices against injustices to people and the environment by asking uncomfortable questions about the current model of growth”.