Michael von Hauff, Deepa Chandran, Lopamudra Ray: Challenges for a National Sustainability Strategy of India, pp. 133-155


At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the international community declared sustainable development to be the new guiding principle for the twenty-first century. This was followed in the late 1990s by a resolution that every country should develop a national sustainability strategy by the year 2002. This was to be updated in the following years (continuous development). It was clear that sustainable development is a long range process for individual countries like India. This paper begins with a discussion of the general requirements to be addressed by a national sustainability strategy. It goes on to discuss the Indian national sustainability strategy as an example of how these can be properly integrated. In this regard, the fact must be taken into account that since 1991 the Indian economy – as measured by GDP – has been very successful. However, as a perform-ance measure, pure economic success is inadequate in the context of a national sus-tainability strategy. A true evaluation of India’s sustainability strategy demands that environmental and social indicators are also considered. Under this condition, India exhibits deficits that are evident on the basis of selected indicators, particularly in the area of environmental and social progress. This paper will analyze several selected indicators in support of this conclusion.