Public Participation in Economic Analysis

CBA and MCA must strive to minimize the role of subjective factors and arrive at figures which best reflect socio-economic valuation of different options. One obvious approach to shed light on the issue at hand would be to involve all stakeholders, particularly the affected people, at various stages of analysis. Since evaluation involves social values, it is important to carry out CBA/MCA in conjunction and close consultation with and participation of the public affected by the project.

The opinion of the public may be sought at different stages in the CBA/MCA exercise. The first inclusion of local values in the CBA/MCA process comes at the “scoping” stage, resulting in selection of the more important impacts for further study. But it is in the valuation of intangibles where public participation could be expected to be most useful. One society may place great value on an ancient religious site while another may not. The public should also be invited to give comments on a CBA/MCA worked out by experts. These comments should be taken into account while finalizing CBA/MCA.

It would be necessary to inform the public before seeking their opinion. There may be elements in analysis, for example water and air pollution, of which the full implications may not be known to the public. It would also be necessary to develop an appropriate institutional mechanism to ensure that public opinion is not dominated by the opinion of a few powerful elements in the community as it happens quite often. Unless the authorities in charge of CBA/MCA make a special effort, the viewpoint of the weaker sections, which constitute the majority, would not be known.


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Further Information

Stakeholder Involvement