Jayanthi Natarajan's tough stand ensures recognition abroad, but red-tapism & bureaucracy continue to delay approvals in India

Reticence can be a double-edged sword. For Jayanthi Natarajan, minister for environment and forests, her reserve has attracted much criticism from domestic detractors. Yet, on the high table of international climate diplomacy, it helped her ensure the voice of developing countries, particularly India, was heard at the global climate talks.

Environment minister caught between India Inc pushing for green nods and environmentalists accusing her of not doing enough to save India’s forests

It probably wasn’t only in jest that a few months ago Jayanthi Natarajan likened herself to a mridangam, a percussion instrument that can be played from both sides. The minister for environment and forests revealed she felt caught between India Inc, pushing aggressively for environmental and forest clearances that will give it the land and resources to expand, and environmentalists who are accusing her of not doing enough to save India’s shrinking forests.