Dwarfed by the larger drama around appointment (and axing) of ministers to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet on Wednesday, the cautious optimism generated in green circles by the nomination of Bhupender Yadav as India’s next environment minister was not as widely noticed.
The optimism about Yadav is not without basis as, in his capacity as a lawyer and parliamentarian, he has handled multiple issues relating to environmental laws and even co-authored a book on forest conservation laws with environment lawyer Ritwick Dutta. So, unlike the man he replaced, Yadav is well versed in the subjects relating to the environment ministry.
At the same time, the optimism is cautious and muted as Yadav takes over from former minister Prakash Javadekar at a time when India’s environment and the ministry that has the mandate to protect it are overwhelmed by multiple and complex problems. Further, it is a widely held perception that the Prime Minister’s Office controls