The Daily Fix

The Daily Fix: The environment should not be sacrificed at the altar of religion

Everything you need to know for the day (and a little more)

The Big Story: Spiritual exercises

On February 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took time off from his busy schedule of campaigning in Uttar Pradesh to visit Coimbatore. Disregarding protests that environment and building norms had been violated, Modi unveiled a 122-feet statue of Adiyogi, a form of Shiva, built by spiritual leader Jagggi Vasudev’s Isha Foundation.

Ahead of the event, activists in Tamil Nadu alleged that the foundation had flouted environment norms and had evaded action on a demolition notice issued by the state government in 2012. On Wednesday, the Tamil Nadu government declared before the Madras High Court that the statue had not been granted necessary clearances.

The Isha Yoga Centre was built near the pristine Western Ghats in Villiangiri in Coimbatore, disrupting the local ecosystem and elephant corridors. The structures, spread across thousands of square feet, blocked the way of large animals and forced them to move through farms, resulting in frequent confrontations with villagers. By participating in the inauguration, Modi appears to have given the violations legitimacy in the public eye.

Unfortunately, violations of this sort are becoming more frequent. Last year, the National Green Tribunal slapped a fine of Rs 5 crore on the Art of Living Foundation run by Sri Sri Sri Ravishankar for damaging the floodplains of Yamuna river in Delhi during a culture festival.

These violations also point to the slack manner in which governments enforce environment laws and strongly resist environmental regulations. For example, Tamil Nadu was one of the states that vehemently opposed the implementation of Kasturirangan committee report on controlling development in the Western Ghats, which would have encompassed the region in which Isha Foundation built the huge statue.

The Tamil Nadu government needs to answer the question of why it allowed the statue to be inaugurated even though it knew, as it admitted before the Madras High Court on Wednesday, that the construction did not have the requisite clearances. Will it punish officials who turned a blind eye to this violation?

While freedom of religion is an important right enshrined in the Constitution, that freedom does not provide the right to practise religion at the cost of environment. After all, protecting the environment is essential for safeguarding the more important right to life.

The Big Scroll

  • In this piece, Sruthisagar Yamunan details the violations Isha Foundation is alleged to have committed. 


  1. Niti Ayog member Bibek Debroy writes on why technology should be used to further decentralise governance and planning. 
  2. In The Hindu, Srinivasan Ramani tells you why the death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has not ended the politics of patronage in Tamil Nadu. 
  3. In the Mint, Biju Dominic says the government cannot be expected to solve every problem in society, especially the ones in the private sphere. 


Don’t miss

Villlagers in Neduvasal in Tamil Nadu are fighting against a hydrocarbon extraction project which they fear will destroy their fields, reports Vinita Govindarajan.

“Ever since the villagers heard the news that Neduvasal would be one of the sites for extracting hydrocarbons, they have been gripped by the fear of losing their land, their crops and their livelihood. They had received no official information about the project and have only seen the news reports.

‘With so much care, we have grown crops on our soil for so many years,’ said Senthil Kumar, a farmer who owns 15 acres of land near Neduvasal. ‘We are scared all of this will be wiped away. We are scared that our children will not have means to survive such damage.’”

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Why should inclusion matter to companies?

It's not just about goodwill - inclusivity is a good business decision.

To reach a 50-50 workplace scenario, policies on diversity need to be paired with a culture of inclusiveness. While diversity brings equal representation in meetings, board rooms, promotions and recruitment, inclusivity helps give voice to the people who might otherwise be marginalized or excluded. Inclusion at workplace can be seen in an environment that values diverse opinions, encourages collaboration and invites people to share their ideas and perspectives. As Verna Myers, a renowned diversity advocate, puts it “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”

Creating a sense of belonging for everyone is essential for a company’s success. Let’s look at some of the real benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace:

Better decision making

A whitepaper by Cloverpop, a decision making tool, established a direct link between inclusive decision making and better business performance. The research discovered that teams that followed an inclusive decision-making process made decisions 2X faster with half the meetings and delivered 60% better results. As per Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, this report highlights how diversity and inclusion are practical tools to improve decision making in companies. According to her, changing the composition of decision making teams to include different perspectives can help individuals overcome biases that affect their decisions.

Higher job satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is connected to a workplace environment that values individual ideas and creates a sense of belonging for everyone. A research by Accenture identified 40 factors that influence advancement in the workplace. An empowering work environment where employees have the freedom to be creative, innovative and themselves at work, was identified as a key driver in improving employee advancement to senior levels.


A research by stated the in India, 62% of innovation is driven by employee perceptions of inclusion. The study included responses from 1,500 employees from Australia, China, Germany, India, Mexico and the United States and showed that employees who feel included are more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty, suggest new and innovative ways of getting work done.

Competitive Advantage

Shirley Engelmeier, author of ‘Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage’, in her interview with Forbes, talks about the new global business normal. She points out that the rapidly changing customer base with different tastes and preferences need to feel represented by brands. An inclusive environment will future-proof the organisation to cater to the new global consumer language and give it a competitive edge.

An inclusive workplace ensures that no individual is disregarded because of their gender, race, disability, age or other social and cultural factors. Accenture has been a leading voice in advocating equal workplace. Having won several accolades including a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate equality index, Accenture has demonstrated inclusive and diverse practices not only within its organisation but also in business relationships through their Supplier Inclusion and Diversity program.

In a video titled ‘She rises’, Accenture captures the importance of implementing diverse policies and creating an inclusive workplace culture.


To know more about inclusion and diversity, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Accenture and not by the Scroll editorial team.