Prabir Sengupta issues a call for a renewed
Prabir Sengupta is the Chairman of TERI
University’s MBA programme. He holds a Masters in Economics from Presidency College, Calcutta University, and was a member of the Indian Administrative Service from 1965 until 2002, when he retired as Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry. In a career spanning four decades, Sengupta has served as Secretary to the Government of India in various ministries, including Department of Defence Production and Supplies, Ministry of Defence; Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and the Department of Heavy Industry, Ministry of Industry. Government of India. He was also appointed to the Planning Commission as Additional Secretary and was Adviser, Energy & Project Appraisal
Here, he writes about how we can adopt a holistic approach while building our habitat.
Paul Hawken, an eminent
environmentalist, states in his book ‘Natural Capitalism’ that at the end of the 19th century, mankind had inherited a 3.8 billion year store of natural capital and that at the present rate of use and degradation, there will be little left beyond the 20th century. He also laid emphasis on greater natural resource productivity, as distinct from the micro-management that has characterised our past action.
We have to obviously embrace in a holistic manner the concepts of sustainability, conservation, and productivity of natural resources like fossil fuel, land, and air to improve our quality of life and to minimise the economic cost of development.
Call of our Age
The prognosis of Paul Hawken and other eminent environmentalists, and the mass of evidence brought out by the IPCC have posed a serious challenge for a developing country like India, confronted as it is with the task of sustaining rapid economic growth while dealing with the global threat of climate change. It is in this context that the Prime Minister of India initiated the ‘National Action Plan on Climate Change’ in 2009. This provides a comprehensive blueprint and a holistic approach for moving towards a greener India.
In India, industry is the highest consumer of
commercial energy — accounting for nearly 50 per cent of the total consumption by all sectors. Because of soaring costs and global competitiveness, energy efficiency has been one of the main areas of action for the Indian industry.
As regards ‘Sustainable Habitat’, three primary green building rating systems are currently operating in India: Energy Conservation Building Codes (ECBC), the India Green Building Council (IGBC), and the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA), the last one
administered jointly by TERI & MNRE.
The Mission on Renewable Energy is another very
important aspect for a Greener India. According to Government targets, 20 per cent of additional grid power generation capacity is to be from renewable energy by 2020. This is no doubt a difficult task, though not an impossible one. However, industry has taken small steps in this regard. Some industrial units have plans to set up a total of around 600 MW of solar power.
Corporate India has also taken some initiatives in areas like clean coal technologies including that for super-critical power plant technologies. Most of these energy-intensive industries have a potential of energy saving around 25 per cent, and with very small investments, of up to
10-15 per cent.
conservation, which has been promoted since the oil price rises of the mid-1970s, water resource management has a rather poor record in India. While water and waste water management have found their place in corporate planning, a lot more needs to be done. Similarly, corporate India has to initiate major new measures for waste management and resource
If we have to move towards a greener and more
sustainable society and if industry has to play an important role, the motivation and approach of the managers in the corporate sector, including the chief executive
officers, will be a key driving factor.
Keeping these realities and challenges in view, TERI University has started two unique programmes: MBA (Business Sustainability) and MBA (Infrastructure). The main aim of these two programmes is to ensure that students learn as to how environmental, societal and, ethical concerns can be fully internalised in management practice.
The concerns about improved resource productivity and the need for sustainable use of resources envisaged require, among other things, enlightened human resources and bold leadership. The clamour for sustainable and ethical practices and for attending to societal concerns has been increasing from different stakeholders like the general public, judiciary, customers and clients, NGOs, government, etc.
The challenge for industry is to understand these new realities and align themselves to the new development needs. This world requires bold leadership from the corporate sector and a clear message down the line for
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