Koyasan, Japan. Credit: Geoff Whalan. Flickr, Creative commons. https://www.flickr.com/photos/geoffwhalan/38678283655/in/photolist-21VSjcz-Nky9wS-gjvis4-7GVDtS-2dK7DV4-r1oDoH-eFg5wB-PZJ3yT-2beRnMu-eFgbGV-S4cv57-4E3sAi-fBTLCz-RsanGN-oJU3iZ-epyqUD-m7Zjrx-8fEM6A-SLJvN4-9B3mdW-6nwvcd-mRd4v3-6ev6zU-mS5zXr-qok28C-eeB4o2-RYTGMK-mS63Zx-obzj9w-wEi48-mLU4KS-qmWJXb-VvjWeF-bNzk4K-2aW7sYC-mSUUoN-fS7NcF-mS4rUz-FBsRiy-RvyGSm-h3L4Ew-4E7LAm-86ZiUP-RDtgio-jGiBpK-2d4W1wk-8sRURM-Cdr59-2di3DLN-b1kUiD
Science | Sustainability

Flood-hit Kerala and Japanese Model of Development

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Kerala: God’s own Country or Floods own?

The tourism department of Kerala has marketed the state as God’s own country all over the world for a long time. The state has been showcasing its evergreen landscape, people, and infrastructure, making it a renowned tourist destination. Also, Kerala got applause from different international organizations for its famous Kerala model development. However, floods in two consecutive years (flood of 2018 and 2019) have damaged its infrastructure facilities. The floods tore the landscape and killed the morale of a large chunk of people. Surprisingly, environmental and earth scientists have stated that due to various factors, flooding will be a regular event for Kerala henceforth. In this context, a new thought has come if flood-hit Kerala has to follow the Japanese Model of Sustainable Development to overcome the situation.

The Alarming Scenario in the flood-hit Kerala

Admittedly, Kerala had copious rain on all monsoon seasons, but in 2018 and 2019, monsoon threatened the very existence of the state. Why? An assessment made by the United Nations Development Program, after the flood of 2018 in Kerala, categorically stated a few crucial matters. According to those reports, current land use pattern, changes in land cover, blocking of natural drains, and poor agricultural practices have added fuel to nature’s fury.

Kerala ignored its environmental issues, and now it is paying dearly for its ignorance

In fact, government machinery and charitable organizations are now trying their level best to help the affected. At this time, flood-hit Kerala and Japanese model of development become a matter of serious discussion. a question crops up. Is it time to discard the famous Kerala Model development and adopt something else like the Japanese model of Sustainable Development? As we all know, Kerala model development has given extraordinary thrust to the state’s education and health sectors. And, the very model has paid rich dividends to the state.

However, at the same time, it forgot all other pillars of society, especially the agricultural and industrial sectors. It fully ignored environmental issues, and now Kerala is paying dearly for its ignorance. Here comes the importance of the Japanese model of sustainable development. The model aims to carry all the people and all their activities for the common good of the entire world.

What is the Japanese Model of Sustainable Development?

Apparently, the concept of sustainable development is catching up with the world rapidly. This brand of development involves a revolutionary factor. It is an all-inclusive idea that does not leave anyone behind. This philosophy makes it really attractive. And, Japanese people have taken up this idea wholeheartedly. And, Japan intends to implement it fully by 2030 and wants to be a role model in this sphere.

Japanese model of sustainable development can make the world poverty-free and offer a high level of well-being for all

In fact, the nation wants the entire world to have the fruits of this grand idea. It is also willing to provide all possible assistance to the world in this regard. They maintain that the Japanese model of sustainable development can make the world poverty-free and offer a high level of well-being and security for all. In brief, their scheme of things includes the protection of the natural environment, health, and education for all.

However, how far all other nations will accept certain economic criteria set by them to give assistance is doubtful. The matter is that they want the economy of the concerned region to have export competitiveness, technological excellence, and an open economy. Achieving the first two components seems reasonable. However, the third one may hurt the common folk of the nations concerned if the rulers do not have broad visions about its population.

Flood-hit Kerala needs to think about the Japanese Model of Development

Does the flood-ravaged Kerala have to think about the Japanese model of sustainable development or follow the Gandhian concepts of development to remain as a progressive society? Although Kerala ranks with developed nations in the case of education and health, its care for the environment is at its lowest ebb. If good ideas are there, which may help in the onward journey, then Kerala should accept them.

What makes the Japanese model of sustainable development attractive for flood-hit Kerala

Japan adopted the best practices from all over the world after conducting a Global study mission. It enabled them to adduce, deduce, or refresh the methods they followed. However, we must remember the fact that they adopted this novel way in 1860 itself and gradually progressed, and by 1960, their economy gained a doubling. It means one thing that there is no overnight solution to the problems that the state of Kerala confront today. But the Japanese Model of Sustainable Development directs everyone to “think globally and act locally.” It shows the soul of a great idea and demands prudent acts from the stakeholders.

The Japanese implement the Sustainable Development Program through their Local Government Centers. If Kerala adopts the same model, the project can be implemented speedily and successfully because the state has a robust chain of Local Self Government body known as Panchayat.

Ground Realities of Flood-hit Kerala

As per the information notes available, Kerala’s farm sector losses have crossed Rs.1,166 cr this season. PWD assessed a loss of Rs.2611 cr. due to washed-out roads, damaged bridges and buildings. Kerala’s flood of 2018 inflicted a loss of Rs.11,000 cr. on PWD. This year, a hot spot tourist center at Munnar alone suffered a loss of Rs.10 cr. on account of booking cancellation. These losses are just a tip of the iceberg. The final account of losses may come out after some time. However, the actual damage and loss occurred to the landmass of Kerala is immeasurable. One thing is sure; the lost land is irrecoverable.

If Kerala opt for the Japanese model of sustainable development, its primary focus should be on land preservation

Along with it, one has to understand the recent statement of the Environment Ministry of India. It says that the nation will take steps to rejuvenate 50 lakh hectares of degraded land within the next ten years. In short, Kerala has to focus on the preservation of the little bit of land it possesses. “‘Miyawaki Method” of forestation would help Kerala a long way to restore the natural forest cover it has lost. The state has already prosed to try “‘Miyawaki Method” in some regions.

Under the stated circumstances, the state of Kerala has to adopt at least three salient features of Japanese Model of Sustainable Development immediately.

  1. Conservation of the environment including biodiversity, forests, and oceans
  2. Sustainable and resilient land use and quality infrastructure
  3. Energy conservation, renewable energy, and climate change countermeasures

In Summary

In total, the Japanese model of sustainable development involves so many notable features. However, in the Indian context, to put it fully operational may take a long time. A thorough reading of the Japanese model of sustainable development goals would remind Indians about Mahatma Gandhi’s concept of development. However, they differ content-wise, although both aim the wellbeing of all. Anyway, it’s high time the people of Kerala started thinking about the Japanese Model of Sustainable Development or some other indigenous methods to save their state.

For Reference

Sachs, J. D. (2017). Japan’s Leadership and Inspiration in Sustainable Development. https://www.japan.go.jp/tomodachi/2017/summer2017/professor_jeffrey_D_Sachs.html

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4 Comments

  1. A good effort to explain why Kerala was devastated by the two floods and what are the steps required to be taken to protect its landscape from nature’s fury in future. Also it exposes the shortcomings in the Kerala model and explains the advantages of a switch of over to the Japanese Sustainable development model from the present one. Good attempt; keep it up.

  2. It is hightime Kerala to think in these lines.But always we are late in forming an apt model.Think about our agriculture field.Kerala has ignored it and now depending on other states to feed it.Non preservation of forests and Western ghats is another example.Better late than never.!

    1. What you said is true about our way of functioning. Any talk about preservation of forests and Western ghats irritate a lot of people here. But this irritation will lead to their own peril.

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