India for equality based human development

United Nations: As nations prepare to address issues of sustainable development at UN`s high-level conference in Rio next month, India has said human development should be based in equal measure on economic progress, social inclusion and living in harmony with nature.

Participating in a high Level meeting here on `Wellbeing and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm`, India`s Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natrajan said the huge material progress the world has witnessed since the industrial revolution has cast tremendous pressure on planet Earth.

"The inherent conflict is not between conservation and development, but between environment and the reckless exploitation of man and earth in the name of high living standards," she said, at the meet, organised by the Bhutanese government on Monday. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, the minister said nature provides enough to satisfy every man`s need, but not every man`s greed.

"In an interdependent world, the answer to these pressing challenges lies in doing things together in a manner that is fair and equitable. We all have a common responsibility but must accept that massive inequitable consumption of resources by some has created a deficit where there is hardly enough for those whose wants are yet to be met," she said.

Natarajan said nations must accept "historical responsibility" and agree that responsibilities today must be differentiated. "We must also respect the imperative for equity." She underscored the need to build a new economic paradigm, which takes into account economic growth, environmental protection and social sustainability, to help nations move towards sustainable development in an equitable manner.