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Citing Climate Change, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Warns Against Consumerism

"Economics" is defined as a science of "limited means and unlimited demands", but now it should be redefined as a "science of limited means but rational and not unlimited demands,"

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NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar on Tuesday referred to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and said it is time to shift the focus from consumption to conservation. If urgent steps were not taken to reverse the damage caused by climate change, a disaster is in store, he said. Kumar was speaking after launching an MBA program in `Agripreneurship and Value Chain Management' of the Indian Institute of Sustainability (IIS) of Gujarat University. 

"I appeal to all of you to not fall prey to a consumerist culture....I think time has come to show off how much you conserve and not consume," he said. The way forward is less consumption of natural resources, more innovation of materials using less resources and recycling of these resources, Kumar added.

"There is a lot to be gained and achieved in conservation, in minimizing our needs and wants rather than being in a consumer society," he said, adding that Indian society traditionally created very little waste and "use and throw" was not a part of its culture. The IPCC report, which underlines that Earth can provide for our needs but not for our greed, is where "we need to think about how we want to go forward and think about our future," Kumar said.

"Economics" is defined as a science of "limited means and unlimited demands", but now it should be redefined as a "science of limited means but rational and not unlimited demands," he said. "In our Indian tradition, this is a real fact. We have always believed our needs have to be rational, changing according to our age, and has to include a component of satisfaction from material consumption...We have to think new, out of the box, differently, and in line with our tradition and our own civilization," the Niti Aayog vice-chairman added. The new `agropreneurship' course was a wonderful idea, Kumar said, adding that the agro-processing sector gives the highest rates of return.

He also asked the institute to work on "Gross Environment Product," and appreciated that it will also focus on "agro ecology" which can help achieve "better soil conditions, lower water use and ensure better health for those who consume natural products". Kumar also launched the university's Institute of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Skills (IIES) and `Gujarat University Dr Jaimin Vasa MSME Chair'.

Earlier in the day, he met Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy CM Nitin Patel. "Kumar expressed satisfaction with the effective implementation of Gujarat government's agriculture, energy, rural development, water management and irrigation schemes. He said the unique achievement of Gujarat in FDI should now be compared with that of developed countries," said a government release.

(PTI)


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