Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Good move

What is Martin Wolf doing reporting this from Delhi?
The Indian government has offered to suspend contracts with mining companies in central and eastern parts of the country in a bid to persuade leftwing Maoist rebels to lay down their weapons.
Palaniappan Chidambaram, the home minister, said that the Indian government was seeking to bring Maoists militants to the negotiating table by insisting that mining contracts be reviewed to provide royalty payments for local communities
Anyway, I was glad to see this on the home page of the FT yesterday, and I wish our papers gave it more prominence.
The main motivation is the Naxal threat
India began what is expected to be up to a three-year offensive against guerrillas active in at least 11 of the nation’s 28 states in October. At least 818 people died in Maoist violence in the first 11 months of 2009 in a campaign that has targeted infrastructure and officials. Maoists are estimated to hold 33 of India’s 600 districts.
Large parts of India do not have title deeds, notaries, and other elements of what we consider property rights. When a company opens a mine, many parties benefit: the company's employees, shareholders, customers, the overall economy. It seems only wrong that these benefits are at the expense of those living on that land, epecially when they are often the poorest of the poor. I think Ninan depicts it beautifully here.

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