Floods in Kerala: Development-Environment Linkage

Economics in action

Kerala is witnessing one of the worst floods in recent history. This is the time for collective action to save people by setting aside all disagreements and debates. I am sure that the government and people there would be able to do so as they have demonstrated recently during the infestation of Nipah virus in parts of the state.

However we should not postpone the thinking about the underlying causes and long-term solutions to the problem. Professor Madhav Gadgil has already indicated that this could be a man-made disaster. Hence the development-environment connection cannot be ignored. However I take a position which is a little different from that of Professor Gadgil in this regard. Let me elaborate.

It is obvious that natural disasters have two aspects. First is the physical or climatic event and second is the impact on the life of people. A climatic event of the same magnitude…

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