Clear Hold Build: Hard Lessons of Business and Human Rights in India by Sudeep Chakravarti

Category: Development/Business
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers India

Awarded the Asian Publishing Awards (2014) for Best Insights into Asian Societies

How could a group as respectable as Tata get it so wrong with human rights and community engagement in Kalinga Nagar and Singur? Why did Vedanta Resources Plc insist on mining in the Niyamgiri Hills in the face of opposition from the tribal inhabitants of the region who fear desecration of their god and losing their land and home? How valid are the safety concerns of the residents of Kudankulam protesting against a nuclear power plant? What gives a global giant like Posco the ability to ride over local sentiments in acquiring land for their mammoth steel plants in Odisha?

There is growing discontent over the manner in which governments and businesses in India treat communities and stakeholders. Disaffection of project-affected communities over issues of land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation has emerged as a major threat to economic growth in India, besides adding to the costs of businesses on account of lost opportunities, delays and liability. The world of business is finally waking up to the idea of human rights, of true corporate social responsibility.

In Clear Hold Build, Sudeep Chakravarti speaks to senior executives, policymakers, activists, lawyers and local communities across such conflict zones in India to present a ringside view of the present and future of business and human rights.


‘Chakravarti’s India is the real India’ —INDIA TODAY

‘A powerful read that applies journalistic sensibilities to one of India’s most pressing challenges—integrating its commitment to democracy, rule of law and human rights into the economic sphere. Chakravarti’s first-hand accounts from fields, factories, farms, mines, roadsides, government offices and boardrooms finally join dots, and challenges the smooth narrative of win-win CSR, sustainability and inclusive development. The result is a picture that politicians and business leaders can either choose to deny and ignore, or use as a basis to alter their mindsets, strategies and practices.’—MARK HODGE, Executive Director, Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, UK

‘While no one disputes the need for growth and development in India, a lack of effective government regulation of businesses and other economic activities can have negative impacts on people’s rights. Investors complain that excessive oversight and people’s protests are stalling projects. In this book, Sudeep Chakravarti argues that, in fact, respecting human rights in business should be seen as an investment, not an expense, one that will protect long-term returns.’—MEENAKSHI GANGULY, South Asia Director, Human Rights Watch

‘Chakravarti’s approach to a subject as complex and intertwined as the relationship of business to human rights is deeply sensitive, thoroughly grounded in reality and empathetically even-handed. If read carefully by decision-makers in business corporations, they will see a careful analysis of their strategies seen through the eyes of those at the receiving end, and draw lessons about how abstract perspectives about impacts fall severely short of meeting their goals. By maintaining such humanism, Chakravarti outlines a programmatic strategy for doing good business, good for human rights and good for business, in a world shared by corporations and the global commons.’—NAVDEEP MATHUR, Public Systems Group, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad; Forum Editor, Critical Policy Studies

The author:  Sudeep Chakravarti