A Case Study on Vedanta Alumina Ltd (VAL) Orissa India: State and FDI versus Democracy?

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Foreign investment in extractive industries in the developing economies has seldom remained free from various types of controversies. Vedanta Aluminum Ltd (VAL) integrated aluminum project in Orissa is an important project for Vedanta Resources Plc. The project suffered major setbacks as the Indian government withdrew the permission for bauxite mining in Niyamgiri and issued a show cause notice under Environment protection act in 2010 for undertaking construction activity without obtaining environmental clearance for its alumina expansion project at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district in Orissa. This case illustrates how a decentralized policy and bureaucracy in a country like India deal with myriad problems of resource curse together with attendant consequences, despite the fact that as compared to several developing nations India has a better track record of legislative framework, an experienced bureaucracy and a regulatory framework.

There are institutional rigidities and limits of public policy formulation and implementation which adversely affect a diverse range of stakeholders: essentially because economic growth priorities override all feasible considerations of protecting and furthering stakeholder interests. India is not the only state which has undergone such an ordeal, many developing countries have suffered as well from their relative inability to deal with the issues of resource curse; but this case study assumes further significance because based on the actual final decisions a future road map in terms of a realistic public policy both for domestic investors as also foreign investors in extractive industries will be decided.

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