Natural resources include our environment, minerals, and land. From an economic standpoint, land and minerals are the most valuable. Wealth attracts thieves, adventurers, rent seekers and crony capitalists. It is not surprising that mining encourages corruption, as private parties attempt to capture most of the value through "legal" but fundamentally illegitimate contracts. This in turn drives environment and human rights violations, which give rise to conflict. Iron ore mining in Goa has become a contentious issue between government and civil society. In his talk, Rahul will speak about the work of the Goa Foundation, an environmental NGO, in raising awareness about mining as Goa’s largest environmental issue for over twenty five years. He will describe the Supreme Court's decision in the Goa Mining case, where the Court was concerned with the rapid depletion of iron ore, and wanted a practical method of implementing the principle of "intergenerational equity", earlier ruled by the Court to be a part of the "Right to Life". Goa Foundation uses the "public trust" doctrine and the "intergenerational equity" principle to propose an ethical, fair and just resolution to the issue in the form of the "fair mining" proposal. This proposal has support from the Constitution, our traditions and customs, economics and global best practices. Rahul will explain how the "fair mining" proposal reduces poverty, slows growing inequality, reduces corruption and crony capitalism, improves governance and even creates a palatable 'Universal Basic Income'. As a result of a recommendation from the Goa Foundation, the Supreme Court has ordered the creation of the Goa Iron Ore Permanent Fund. This is intended to be a savings fund akin to the oil funds of Norway and Alaska. The Supreme Court has also ruled the last five years of iron ore mining in Goa to be illegal. While giving rise to enormous claims on the miners (as illegal mining is equivalent to theft of public property), it also gave the Goa government a clean slate. It had full freedom to redesign its mining sector. The Goenchi Mati Movement issued a manifesto for the Goa State Assembly elections showing how these principles could be put into practice. The manifesto was supported by the mining affected, mining dependent, and even a miner. It has also been supported by four political parties including AAP, as well as the Archbishop of Goa, the Shadow Chancellor of the UK, and a broad spectrum of civil society.
Rahul Basu is presently a member of a number of initiatives, including the Goa Foundation, the Goenchi Mati Movement and The Future We Need. He is on the executive committee of Mines, Minerals and People and the interim executive committee of the India Network for Basic Income. His relevant interests and experiences include finance and accounting (Rahul has studied economics and management, worked in ICICI and has been a CFO); public policy; corruption andgovernance; cognitive sciences including behavioural economics and persuasion theory; and quality improvement and designing win-win solutions (Rahul has structured and completed a variety of project finance transactions as well as mergers, acquisitions and investments.) He has published three papers in EPW on this issue and is a member of INSEE (Indian Society for Ecological Economics) and EAERE (European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists).
Rahul is also the founder and CEO of Ajadé, a consulting firm for start-ups and small companies and a member of the Indian Angel Network. He is a member of Kokum Design, a design non-profit. As education is his primary interest, he advises an ongoing project to redesign Goa’s anganwadis to first world quality. He is a participant in a variety of other social initiatives and causes, largely based out of Goa.
This is the eighth in a series of talks organised by the CPR Land Rights Initiative to showcase perspectives on land rights issues by diverse stakeholders, including academics from various disciplinary backgrounds, civil society organisations, grassroots activists, and policymakers. The goal of these talks is to generate multi-dimensional and multi-stakeholder knowledge on these issues.