India today is a zone of contest between a sustainable culture based on ensuring the living energies of biodiversity and the sacredness of species and a non-sustainable and inequitable culture based on fossil fuel. The sacred cow symbolizes a biodiverse culture and a living economy. The cow gives energy as draft power and fuel. She gives organic manure. She gives food in the form of milk, ghee, butter, buttermilk, and yogurt. And she provides pest control in the form of cow urine and panchkavya. Today cows are being banned from the roads to make way for the car.
The ficus tree is another sacred species in a biodiverse culture. Throughout India ficus trees have been planted along roads to provide shade. If a road had to be widened, it would go around the ficus trees. Today, millions of sacred ficus trees planted over hundreds of years are being cut down to make highways.
When something is sacred, it is inviolable. Cows and trees used to be inviolable in India. Humans had to adjust their activities to protect them. The livelihoods of the poor were inviolable under Article 21 of India’s constitution, which guarantees the right to life. Today the car has become inviolable. Culture and constitution can be violated to protect the car. Humans and other species can be sacrificed to make way for the car. Globalization is literally being driven into India and corporate globalization’s proclamation of the car as sacred silences other things held sacred. Cars need highways and overpasses, they need fossil fuels, and they need aluminum, steel, and petrochemicals. Cars redesign the countryside and the city.
Sacred species are being killed to expand the ecological space for the car. If “timeless India” rested on the gifts of the sacred cow—her living energy and her living manure, the foundations of a totally renewable economy—India’s short-term economic miracle rests on the sacred car. Nothing else is sacred anymore; nothing else is worthy of protection.
During the enclosures of the commons in Britain, Sir Thomas More wrote, “sheep eat men.” He was referring to the diversion of land from providing for human needs and sustenance to providing wool as raw material for factories and profits for the landlords and factory owners. The peasants were uprooted; a new poverty was created. Land that fed people was now to feed the factories.
Today, cars eat men. Land is diverted for parking, roads, highways, overpasses, and car factories. The mining of the iron ore and bauxite that makes the steel and aluminum is destroying the land and ecosystem. The drilling for oil is eating up yet more land. Cars are eating up land and ecosystems. The atmosphere is being eaten up with fossil fuel emissions.
From 2006 to 2011 India is projected to be the fastest-growing auto manufacturer among the world’s top 20 car-making countries. Most automobile companies are descending on India in their search for cheap land and cheap labor. General Motors, Honda, Volkswagen, and others will spend $6.6 billion on new car factories. Fiat, Nissan, Renault, and others are linking with local manufacturers. Bloomberg, the economic news agency, describes this as “cashing in on the nation’s auto lust” but also recognizes that the “nation” is only 0.7 percent of the population. In India only 7 people in every 1,000 own a car, compared with 450 in the US and 500 in Europe. The “market” is not 1.2 billion Indians but the 216 million members of the middle class. India will also be an export hub for automobiles.
And of course, India has to be made over for the car. The “$14 billion highway program isn’t keeping up,” Bloomberg reports, concluding that in India car manufacturers will “find throngs of fervent car buyers, a surging auto-making and exporting market—and the burden of inadequate roads.”
Nissan and Renault have announced they are considering producing a $3,000 car to compete with Tata’s $2,500 Nano, which is to be made in the controversial plant at Singur in West Bengal. Singur saw protests and bloodshed when the government of West Bengal forcefully acquired farmland for Tata’s Nano factory and the factory is still under siege. French carmaker Renault is joining up with Indian two-wheeler manufacturer Bajaj Auto whose products will include a $3,000 car. Toyota, Honda, Fiat, and Volkswagen are also planning to build or sell low-cost cars in India. Taxes on small cars have been reduced from 24 percent to 16 percent, further lowering prices. Tata Motors hopes to put 1 million small cars on the road each year. These “cheap” cars will add to India’s traffic congestion and increase her CO2 emissions. In Delhi alone, 200,000 vehicles are added to the streets every year.
The car has seriously divided India. People can no longer walk on the streets. Neighbors have turned into enemies over car parking. It has cut up rural India through land grabs for factories and highways. It has divided communities.
India’s automobile burden is not her own. It is imposed by the global automobile industry in order to increase their markets and their profits. It is also a burden imposed by servicing the outsourcing boom. BPOs (business process outsourcing centers) have exploded in India as airlines and banks, hospitals and law firms, every major business has shifted back-office work to India to lower costs. Now, hordes of call-center cabs shuttle BPO workers from residential areas to the exploding suburbs where global corporations have set up operations at all hours.
Since 1997, auto production has stagnated in Europe, North America, and Japan, but in Asia and India, production has doubled. China accounts for the biggest increase, with production going up threefold from 1.5 million vehicles in 1997 to 4.6 million in 2005.
In India, until 1984 cars were designated a luxury product and their production was regulated; there were quotas on imports. Six Indian manufacturers dominated the Indian automobile industry—Telco (now Tata Motors), Ashok Leyland, Mahindra and Mahindra, Hindustan Motors, Premiere Automobiles, and Bajaj Auto. In 1991, trade liberalization policies led to the delicensing of the passenger-car segment. In 2000 quotas were removed in the automobile sector, and 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was allowed in the automobile sector. India is increasingly producing for export, which over the last five years has increased at the rate of 39 percent annually.7
Along with exports the total number of vehicles in India has increased dramatically. In 1951 there were an estimated 300,000 cars in India. From there it grew to 5.4 million in 1981 and 37 million in 1997. In 2003 it reached 67 million and began increasing rapidly: 72 million in 2004, 85 million in 2005. The majority of this growth was for personal transport. With the efficiency, accessibility, and reliability of public transport systems in most urban areas lacking, people have turned to buying their own vehicles, and private vehicles are providing for a larger portion of travel. For this exploding car population, gasoline consumption is set to increase from 6 million tons in 1997 to 25 million tons by 2015. Diesel consumption will increase from 30 million tons in 1997 to 100 million tons in 2015. In a period of rising oil prices and peak oil, India can only meet this demand if land is diverted from food to biofuels.8
Historical data indicates that road transport grows at twice the growth rate of the overall economy. With an economic growth rate in India of more than 6 percent, road transport demand is expected to increase in the region of 12 percent every year. Environmental and safety aspects have become an area of increasing concern.
In 1950, buses and railways accounted for 70 percent of the total traffic volume in Western Europe; by 1997, their share had fallen to a meager 15 percent. In Australia, private vehicles accounted for 93 percent of total urban passenger transport in 2000. Despite extremely decrepit and ill-maintained vehicles in its fleets, public transport in India meets very high levels of travel demand. In Delhi, 64 percent of the demand is met by buses. In Mumbai, buses account for 69 percent of trips, using only 5 percent of the road capacity. However, more than 91 percent of on-road transport in Kanpur, 88 percent in Hyderabad, and 86 percent in Nagpur is composed of cars and two-wheelers, whereas buses constitute 0.5, 0.5, and 0.4 percent respectively.
Though an efficient public transportation system can provide mobility to all sections of society without the negative impacts of individual automobilization, transport planners have not given it due attention. Government policies are primarily responsible for public transport’s losing the race: the majority of cities have, in effect, encouraged the use of the private car. Transportation expert Wendell Cox points to the essential ineffectuality of existing public transport options as another factor in their unpopularity: “People who are getting more affluent will not be content with a transport system that does not take them where they want and when they want in a competitive time.”
Bicycles, bicycle rickshaws, and walking—modes of transportation that could work wonders to reduce congestion and pollution levels—are associated with the poor. And in some cities bicycles and bicycle rickshaws are being driven off the road as a matter of policy. Traffic departments in Lucknow and Guwahati have banned non-motorized transport from most arterial routes for most of the day. Bicycle rickshaws have been banned in Chandni Chowk, one of Delhi’s oldest and busiest markets. A disregard for walking is also quite evident in transportation policy and planning. Planners focus on ensuring the fast movement of cars at the cost of pedestrians. Pavements and footpaths, where they exist, are either encroached upon or made narrower to increase road width for the benefit of motorized traffic.
The movement to make cities car-free is gaining momentum. The city of Freiburg in Germany has shown that it is indeed possible to virtually stop the growth of car use, even when car ownership is rising. Freiburg’s car ownership rose from 113 cars per 1,000 people in 1960 to 422 per 1,000 in 1990. However, daily auto use remained constant between 1976 and 1991. Transit passengers increased by 53 percent and bicycle trips rose 96 percent over the same period. While total trips increased 30 percent, car trips increased just 1.3 percent over 15 years. In fact, the share of trips by cars fell 60 percent. Freiburg achieved this through mechanisms such as pedestrianizing the city center, traffic-calming programs, and a difficult, expensive parking system designed to discourage car use. The city also made improvements in its mass transit facilities, including extending and upgrading its light-rail system and using buses to feed the rail lines.
Examples of cities like Freiburg abound. Strasbourg (France) has provided its citizens with a 300-kilometer network of bicycle routes. Bogotá (Colombia), Singapore, and Hong Kong have made efforts to encourage walking and cycling as options. In Germany, public policies have been largely responsible for creating a suburban environment where bicycling remains a feasible travel option. Shanghai—possibly the world’s greatest cycling city—has a population of 14 million; in 1995, of the 26.7 million person-trips of more than 0.4 kilometers undertaken each day, 42 percent were on bicycles. Almost all streets in Shanghai have spacious cycle lanes, many of them fully segregated from vehicle lanes.10
The automotive mission plan announced by the prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2007 projects tremendous growth over the next decade, but no lesson is learned about leaving space for cycles. The goal of the plan is for India “to emerge as the destination of choice in the world for design and manufacture of automobiles and auto components with output reaching a level of US $145 billion accounting for more than 10 percent of the GDP and providing additional employment to 25 million people by 2016.”11 These figures do not take into account the cost of uprooting peasants for automobile factories and highways, and destroying the non-automotive methods of transport that provide livelihoods to millions.
The plan is the ultimate expression of the petrol religion, in which the car is sacred and people, their livelihoods, and the land and the air can all be destroyed.
The launch of Tata’s Nano, the Rs 1 lakh ($2,500) car, in 2008 at the Delhi automobile fair unleashed Nano-mania. The Nano is 3.1 meters long, 1.5 meters wide, and 1.6 meters high. Tata’s plant at Singur plans to produce 250,000 cars in 2008 and to increase to 1 million cars per year by 2011. The Hindustan Times announced “Small Wonder: It is green, it is global, it is Indian. It costs a lakh and it is called the Nano.” India Today ran a cover story on Ratan Tata, the owner of Tata, hailing “Ratan’s Revolution.” Business World talked of the “Nanolution.” Newsweek ran a cover story on the Nano, “Small: It’s the New Big,” saying that India’s new ultra-mini heralds the future of the car. The Nano became the answer to peak oil and climate change. “Poor countries are getting rich, gas costs are rising and our planet is heating up. The Nano is among the new breed of 21stcentury cars that are cooler, cheaper and more compact than ever.”
The Nano has been declared a “people’s car.” A full-page ad proclaimed: “It’s here, the new Tata Nano to end all speculation, debate and talk and change the way India travels.” However, the debates about the impact of millions of new cars are just beginning. Debates about cars eating into the ecological space of cities, causing traffic jams, and pollution. Debates about the need for improving public transport instead of increasing car ownership. Debates about the price paid by peasants and tribals as their land is grabbed for Tata’s car factory in Singur and steel plants in Kalinganagar and Gopalpur. When these costs are taken into account, the Nano is not the world’s cheapest car, but may be the world’s most expensive car. And though Newsweek announced, “Poor countries are getting rich,” the reality is that poor people in poor countries are losing what little they have, their land and livelihoods, while corporations get richer.
Is the Nano green? Journalist Adil Jal Darukhanawala said, “The ‘Greens’ should love it.” Although the Nano gets good gas mileage, it is a fossil fuel–driven car. It is not an electric car; it is not a hybrid. It will, therefore, at 1 million new cars a year, contribute heavily to greenhouse gas emissions.
The Tata car is made cheap by land-grab subsidies, by mining subsidies, and through reduction in taxes. While the government is working on a National Urban Transport Policy on one side, it is encouraging projects like Tata’s with tax benefits on the other. This will encourage private vehicles and conflicts with the sustainable transport system that government wants to promote. These small cars can do serious damage to the environment, especially in already highly polluted cities.
In a fast-developing economy like India, a $2,500 car is affordable for many of the newly rich, and will result in millions of cars coming on the streets in a short span of time. There is a fear that these small cars will unleash chaos, leading to a mix of uncontrollable traffic and high pollution levels.
Cars have a limitless appetite for oil. They also have a limitless appetite for land—for car factories, for steel plants, for iron ore mining, for roads.
Kalinganagar in Orissa is the site of Tata’s steel plant. This land is home to the Ho, Munda, and Santhal tribal communities. The steel plant will displace the villages of Chandia, Gobaraghati, and Gadapur. Tata moved to Kalinganagar after its attempt to set up a steel plant in Gopalpur failed in the face of popular resistance there.
In Kalinganagar in 2004 tribals began to resist Tata’s land acquisition. In January 2006, the conflict escalated when Tata came with 400 police officers to start leveling the land. Four hundred tribals gathered to protest with their bows and arrows. The police fired stun shells, rubber bullets, and tear gas. By the end of the conflict, 13 tribals and one police officer had been killed and 37 tribals and four police officers had been injured. The villagers then sat on a dharna on the national highway. When the police returned the bodies of the dead, there was further outrage and anger when it was discovered that out of the eight bodies returned, five had their hands chopped off so that the bodies could not be identified by their fingerprints. In response the Visthapan Virodhi Jana Manch (VVJM), the organization spearheading the anti-displacement movement, issued demands that included an end to displacement, compensation for those already displaced, prosecution of the government officials involved, the expulsion of multinational corporations from the region, and the granting of land and mineral rights to the tribal population.
Kalinganagar was just the beginning. Tata is now setting up a car factory on 998 acres of fertile land in Singur in West Bengal, where farmers grow three rotations of crops every year. The government started the physical takeover of the land in December 2006. About 5,000 police and Rapid Action Force (RAF) troops started erecting barbed wire on the land. The local villagers tried to resist the attempt of the government with mass mobilizations. In response the police force and RAF resorted to a widespread lathi charge (a lathi is a 6- to 8-foot-long baton with a dull metal cap) and firing tear-gas shells and rubber bullets. Crops were destroyed, people were attacked, and women were molested and raped. Sixty people were arrested.
A few days later, the villagers spontaneously shut down shops and formed a procession of about 500 when the police forcibly took away six people from the Bajemelliya Santoshimatala hunger-strike camp. Hunger strikes followed all over Singur, with farmers and their families agitating against the state’s acts. Farmers from 12 villages with 347 acres of land have pledged not to part with their land holdings. The numbers of hunger strikers increased day by day. Women and men of all ages—from 7 to 85 years old—participated in the fasts.
Such unruly transfer of agricultural land for industrial purposes is destroying the food-security paradigm, destroying the sociocultural-political-economic paradigm of the living community and the next generations to come. The disparity between agriculture and corporate industry is widening at a scale not seen before. It is happening through coercion and undemocratic and inhumane means. “Growth” and “development” must come through fair, just, and equal means, not under the shadow of the gun.
Superhighways have become the perfect symbol of contemporary India’s distorted identity. They are at the heart of the “India Shining” imagery that was launched as a way of marketing India internationally and used by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in their reelection campaign of 2004. Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said: “Roads are like the lines on the palm. There is a line of destiny, which is going to join Srinagar to Kanyakumari. We want to see that day when we start from Kanyakumari and reach Srinagar with ease.” Prime minister Manmohan Singh, who heads the Congress-led government, has continued the love affair with cars and highways.
Highways are not lines on the palm, they are more like tattoos—marks imposed by external design on the landscape. The violence of this imposition is shaped by the World Bank and IMF. The redefining of India is a forgetting of Bharat, of India’s history. By writing our fate in cement, we are erasing our fate from our soil, our land, and our ecology. In India, we have viewed our mountains and rivers as the “lines on the palm.” They are an intrinsic part of the ecology and geography of our motherland. They are our givens and our givers. We have been intimately connected to our land, our rivers, and our mountains. The earth has shaped our destiny. And through this connection, we have been connected as a civilization from Srinagar to Kanyakumari.
The sources of the tributaries of the Ganges are the Char Dhams, and people across the country undertake the pilgrimage to the Himalayas and Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath. It did not take a highway to bring the people of the South on this pilgrimage; it took the sacred bond with our mountains and rivers. And in fact, the pilgrimage had value because it was undertaken on foot. India has long celebrated the padyatra (the foot march). Gandhi’s Dandi March was a padyatra. The Chipko movement to save trees spread in the High Himalayas through padyatras. Even today, thousands walk to take Gangajal home for Shivaratri. Most women in rural India walk to collect fodder, fuel, and water. The distances they walk will increase as more trees are cut and as the cement and coal tar of highways cover our soils, suffocating wells and streams.
Substituting sacred rivers with highways, substituting our connection to the sacred earth, her mountains and forests, with connection to automobiles, cement, and coal tar, is rewriting India’s ecology, culture, and history. It is adopting an obsolete, outmoded, unsustainable model of development imported from the West, one with high social and environmental costs.
Tagore reminded us that India is distinctive because it is an “Aranya Sanskriti.” It derives its inspiration from the forest and the living world, unlike the West, which derives its cultural characteristics from dead brick and mortar. Yet, today across the country, ancient papal and sacred ficus trees, often hundreds of years old, are being chopped down to make way for the automobile. As Gandhi stated:
Modern civilization seeks to increase bodily comforts, and it fails miserably even in doing so.… This civilization is such that one has only to be patient and it will be self-destroyed.… There is no end to the victims destroyed in the fire of [this] civilization. Its deadly effect is that people come under its scorching flames believing it to be all good.
It is a charge against India that her people are so uncivilized, ignorant and stolid, that is a charge really against our strength. What we have tested and found true on the anvil of experience, we dare not change. Many thrust their advice upon India, but she remains steady. This is her beauty; it is the sheet anchor of our hope.
India’s tradition of leaving a small ecological footprint on the planet is being erased in a race by India’s elite to imitate and outdo the industrialized West in consuming the earth’s resources—in usurping the ecological space of other beings, indigenous and rural communities, and the urban poor.
The superhighway and the automobile are the ultimate cultural symbols of non-sustainability and ecological exclusion. Our roads once had a place for the cow, the horse, the camel, the elephant, the pedestrian, the bicycle, and the car. We are now privileging the car owner. The sacred cow has disappeared from Delhi’s roads.
Rickshaws and handcarts—the ultimate expression of fossil fuel–free, climate-friendly transportation—have been banned in order to “clean up” the streets for cars and automobiles. Kolkata and Delhi banned rickshaws in 2006 as a “cleanup” operation. In fact, getting rid of human-powered vehicles promotes highly polluting two-stroke motorized rickshaws. These mopeds are considered autos under Indian law and are thus allowed on the streets. Bicycle rickshaws generate no pollution and use renewable energy rather than fossil fuels. They account for 25 to 80 percent of vehicle trips in many cities and are responsible for more than 10 percent of the total employment in major cities. In Patna, 28,000 people are employed in public transport, most as bicycle rickshaw drivers. When indirect employment linkages are considered, it is 42,000 jobs supporting 150,000 livelihoods. A Rs 100,000 investment in a bus generates two jobs; investing that amount in auto rickshaws creates six jobs. Investing it in bicycle rickshaws creates 75 jobs. Ten to 20 percent of the urban traffic in India and Pakistan is made up of bicycle rickshaws. In Bangladesh, the bicycle rickshaw fleet has grown from two-thirds of a million in 1988 to over a million in 2000. Annually each bicycle rickshaw accounts for 30,000 passenger-miles and almost 100 ton-miles of goods. Bicycle rickshaws, ox carts, and country boats account for 75 percent of the economic value added to goods, 80 percent of the employment, and 40 percent of the vehicle assets of the transport sector.
The highway and the automobile are symbols of totalitarian cultures: they deny people sustainable and equitable alternatives for mobility and transport. To go from Kanyakumari to Srinigar, India has a big network of railways. Yet, in the government’s advertisements of the highway projects, it is suggested that there is no way for the people to get from one point to another without superhighways. Our leaders are blind to the experience of the West in giving up more-sustainable and people-friendly methods of transport for road transport. In Germany, road transport accounts for 91 percent of all air pollution, 64 percent of all noise pollution, 56 percent of all construction and maintenance, and 98 percent of all accidents.
A study in Germany found that road transport causes eight times the pollution, destroys ten times the land, and results in 20 times the accidents that rail transport does. Road transport accounts for 17 percent of all CO2 emissions. All these externalities are known. Yet, India’s rulers are choosing an obsolete, crude, and costly form of transport as a symbol of “India Shining.”
The sadak (road) was part of the BJP’s election slogan in the assembly elections. In the lead-up to the general elections in 2004, highway advertisements ensured that the highway and automobile became symbols of a brave new India. But we need to take lessons from history and other societies. We have a century of experience with the ecological and social violence of the automobile. We can save ourselves from becoming its slave. And we have lessons from Nazi Germany, where highways were designed as means of centralized control, fascism, and dictatorship, and not as routes to human freedom and democracy. As Wolfgang Sachs writes in his classic, For the Love of the Automobile:
Dictatorships live not only by force but also by emotional appeal; the shining eyes of the man on the street are as much a part of the image of the time as the Gestapo at dawn. A history of this enthusiasm in the period of German fascism has yet to be written. Yet, whoever undertakes to eavesdrop at the corner bar and uncover that consent from below amid the oppression from above will have to make room for a chapter about the National Socialists’ motorization policy.
Former prime minister Vajpayee’s ground breaking for his pet highway projects recollects images of Hitler’s ground breaking for the Frankfurt-Basel Hanseatic highway in 1933. Prime minister Singh continued the work Vajpayee started. The German Reich Automobile Law, which made the highways possible, took away road-building responsibility from the states and concentrated it at the national level. The 2003 Highways Act of India achieved similar centralization and concentration of power.
In both Germany and India “auto-only” roads have replaced the pluralism and democracy of transport. A German memorandum identified the countryside as the biggest impediment to the automobile:
It is expected to share the streets, with horse-drawn carriages, bicyclists and pedestrians.… The modern concept of traffic engineering is to introduce a network of special highways, to serve the needs of long-distance travellers and to be used by the fastest automobiles (for which it is meant).
The monoculture of the mind, which has destroyed biodiversity in farms and forests, which has fueled communal hatred, which fed Hitler’s policies, is now being brought to India’s landscape and roads. The car owner and long-distance traveller is a privileged citizen. The ox cart, the bicycle, the pedestrian must be displaced for the automobile, which previously was just one among many modes of transport. The BJP’s highway project aims to rewrite India’s diverse and pluralistic fabric in a very basic way. Hitler too raised the flag of “national highways” as a way to create the Volksgemeinschaft, a national society connected as “one people, one reich, one führer.” Nazi Germany used highways to wipe out diversity, autonomy, and decentralization and “to mould the German people into unity.” India’s current rulers are also using the highway as a means of, and metaphor for, molding India into one monolith, serving the luxury demands of the rich, excluding the poor and the diversity that supports their lives.
One such highway ad from the 2004 election campaign proclaims the increase in highways built and people employed. Nazi advertisements used similar measures of achievement. The “India Shining on tarmac” advertisements find a parallel in the euphoria of the German Reich. The National Socialists presented road building as both a technical achievement and a cultural feat. As the inspector general of German roads, Fritz Todt stated after the first 1,000 miles were built: “It is once again a matter of pride to be a road builder. The German Reich is getting roads the levels of which, in their magnitude and beauty, have never been built in the history of human culture.”
India in the 21st century needs to be building on Gandhi’s legacy, not Hitler’s. It needs to avoid repeating the ecological and social mistakes of the West. India has offered alternatives based on sustainability and pluralism. Gandhi observed:
God forbid that India should ever take to industrialism after the manner of the West. The economic imperialism of a single tiny island kingdom [England] is today keeping the world in chains. If an entire nation of 300 million took to similar economic exploitation, it would strip the world bare like locusts.
We are today 1 billion. And we are being asked to adopt the life-styles and economies of the 20 percent of humanity who have been using 80 percent of the world’s resources. If 100 million rich Indians want to live like their Western counterparts it would take more resources than the world has to offer and the attempt would force their brothers and sisters to give up their water, their land, their homes, and their livelihoods. The highway project is not uniting India; it is dividing India. It is creating an automobile apartheid in which the rich drive at high speeds on highways built by cutting through villages and forests, tearing down homes, farms, and trees. They drive through without even seeing the brothers and sisters whose livelihoods they are robbing. Superhighways are not our destiny or the lines on the nation’s palm. They are graveyards of cement and coal tar, which are burying our soils, our villages, and our freedoms.