This is of course not an issue that is just Indian in nature, it affects countries across the globe, documented in Africa, in South America.. the term 'natural resource curse' has come up precisely because of this. While more than 40% of the resource rich countries are autocracies, and democracy is preferred to autocracy when it comes to benefiting from resource windfalls, data from Brazil examined by Brollo et al. finds that a 10% windfall in government revenues leads to a 12 percentage point increase in corruption and a 3 percentage point reduction in the probability that politicians have a degree. The chance that an incumbent is reelected raises by over 4 percentage points.They call this the political resource curse. So democracies do provide the necessary checks and balances, compared to autocracies, but there are pitfalls here too.
What about the corporates? As Sudeep Chakravarti says, If the corporation had cared, protests would not have happened. ...,(Perhaps the flaw in the concept of human resource has always been that, it is practised with those under a corporate umbrella, rarely with those adversely affected on account of a company’s activities.) In an earlier column, he writes, Businesses ought typically to be more far sighted, less prone to believing in hype, and more aware of liability.
Here, the problem is compounded because the crucial issue, as Sunita Narain points out, is that the poorest people in India live on its richest lands. For governments and corporates to rethink the way they manage resources, there has to be a review of growth and development plans, because without understanding and integrating this basic point into our plans for the future, social conflict is inevitable.