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Initiatives

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India's Auto Industry Gears Up For Government's EVs Push

India has taken a leap of faith by mandating electric vehicles only after 2030.  Can it succeed?
India under this NDA government has been at the forefront in planning for a shift towards EVs.  This will require changes in laws, rules, and regulations.   It will require new investments and R&D.   And in a country with an ever-changing political landscape, it will require sustaining the pressure over more than a decade.   Tough task ahead, but managing the political economy of entrenched lobbies will be the toughest of all.



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Delhi’s air pollution puzzle

Is the much-heralded Graded Response Programme not working?
This article argues that the GRP is not working because the impact is not being felt in terms of reduced pollution levels.  The GRP essentially stops more and more polluting activities as pollution levels worsen.   Anyone who understands Indian governance would know that the government’s ability to implement is limited, and anyone who understands the environment knows that too many factors impact pollution levels to enable incontrovertible conclusions in less than a year. 



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1 3 Million Deaths Every Year In India Due To Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor pollution from firewood, gobar and coal kill in millions says another study and suggests many policy measures.
The article quotes from an un-named study and provides a lot of data that appears to be dated.  And then it gives many solutions.  No doubt the biomass-based cooking stove is a massive polluter, I had estimated a couple of years back that the combined pollution from the cooking stoves of Punjab and Haryana was more than the combined pollution of all their burning fields!  The policy solution of universal LPG or electric use has been taken and its use is fast expanding.   The solution is simply improved access of the rural household to LPG, and that is all.



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Trees provide ecosystem services worth $500 million

The value from trees runs into many millions says this study. Do we need to value everything I wonder?
Is the research world going bonkers trying to put everything into hard numbers using soft assumptions?  I do feel so, but clearly, I am a minority.  After much economic accounting, the authors of this international study found that a tree provides value worth $35 a year.  What if it found that a tree provides value of $55 or $15?  Would it change anything?



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Indians can live 4 extra years if air-quality standards are met

Meeting the international and national emission standards can add nine and six years respectively to the life of people of Delhi says another study.  There are more and more studies that are linking globally accepted pollution to health parameters to Indian pollution levels.
Most such studies are finding a huge impact on morbidity and mortality.   The government naturally does not like them, as it builds additional pressure on it.  The fact remains that even if such studies are 50% wrong, the loss of life and lifestyle due to pollution is unacceptable.



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Can’t force customers to buy electric vehicles: Maruti chairman

Maruti protests the hard push towards electric vehicles by 2030.
Many in the automobile industry and outside are complaining about the hard stance of Nitin Gadkari on EVs.  While one can protest against the tone of his language, there is little else that can be expected of the entrenched incumbents.  And Maruti is more entrenched than anyone else.  Maruti dominates the low and mid-cost cars and EVs are currently more expensive.   But 13 years is a long time in this era of rapid technological change.



Government Actions this week


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Govt considering electric buses in DTC fleet: Gahlot

Delhi’s state government is grappling with how to implement Centres moral-suasion with electric buses.
Electric vehicles are much more expensive than conventional ones.  But as scales are achieved and battery technology advances, they will get much cheaper.  The problem Delhi’s government is grappling with is whether it should put in the extra funds required for a full fleet of Electric Buses that will be many multiples of conventional bus costs.  It is a tough decision, which could be made easier if a carbon tax regime is implemented over and above the GST.



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Civic body files police complaints against garbage contractors

Indian cities don’t work because urban governments don’t punish those breaking the rules.  Mumbai’s municipality finally does what it needs to.
Indian cities are the worst managed in the world, not because of the absence of laws, rules or regulations, but due to the reluctance of urban governments to implement them.  Therefore, a simple act of filing a complaint attracts large media attention as this one.  Perhaps Mumbai will lead the way in imposing basic civic discipline.



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TMC begins expansion of century-old crematorium

An inspiring article on the detailing that made Thane’s crematorium environment-friendly.
Many educated and aware Indians continue to use damp wood for cremating their dear ones.  Neither have solar nor gas based cremations gathered momentum.  Giving people options of both wood and non-wood, but enclosing the crematorium should reduce pollution.  The move towards wood and sawdust briquettes would also address the smoke problem while giving bereaved families the option to follow their beliefs.



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