Policy Action to tackle Air Pollution in Delhi

Information about the Issue:

In a Supreme Court Judgement dated December 2, 2016 (M.C. Mehta v Union Of India), the Court directed the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) to prepare and implement a plan to eliminate the problem of excessive air pollution in Delhi-NCR. Thereafter, the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) was prepared and implemented by the EPCA, in collaboration with government experts, for different Air Quality Index (AQI) categories – Moderate & Poor, Very Poor and Severe. 

Despite the implementation of GRAP in NCR since 2017, the air quality in the city of Delhi has not improved to a great extent. The government of Delhi even had to declare a Public Health emergency in November 2019 when the Air Quality Index breached the 800 mark in some areas due to pollution from vehicles, factories, and firecrackers- the primary source being the burning of crop stubble across Punjab and Haryana. (more…)

The Potential Threat of Climate-Induced Migration: Coping Strategies & Mitigation Policies

India, a country already tormented by chronic poverty, developmental problems, and perils of overpopulation, is further burdened with acute climate migration internally as well as from neighboring countries. In the case of internal displacement, rural areas characterized by a loss of land productivity, and where conditions of drought and other cases of severe floods prevail, usually give rise to mass-migrations of people to urban areas in cities. For instance flooding in Uttarakhand and Sundarban region and droughts in States like Gujarat with majorly arid topography have led to migration towards the metropolitan cities of Delhi and Mumbai. According to data collected by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre between 2008-16, 200 million people have been displaced worldwide and in India 1.5 million people are classified as internally displaced every year. (more…)

Environmental & Health Concerns regarding Mobile Tower Installations

Information about the Issue:

Rapid urbanisation brings in the issue of installation of mobile towers in the vicinity of residential areas, schools and hospitals. Regardless of a huge number of complaints, the telecom companies haven’t deterred so far in installing mobile towers near residential complexes and schools. The Courts have also not taken a hard stance so far, as the Companies have usually been able to provide sources to prove that the installation of such towers doesn’t harm humans. Moreover, the Courts usually deem the Government Bodies to be the competent authorities to decide in such matters, however, the research for determining whether these towers have a harmful effect on the ecosystem in which they are installed, seems inadequate.  (more…)

Draft Environmental Impact Assessment, 2020: Should environmental disaster be the cost of development?

As the name suggests, EIA is supposed to assess the environmental impact of development projects, to minimize the adverse effects of development on the environment. As per the International Association for Impact Assessment, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is “the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and mitigating the biophysical, social, and other relevant effects of development proposals before major decisions being taken and commitments made”. The significance of EIA also lies in the fact that public consultation is an important aspect of the assessment decision. This means that while an expert committee is to make the final decision about the impact of a project or activity, the people who are directly affected by the said project, also get to present their opinions and concerns regarding the same, which must be taken into consideration before concluding the EIA proceedings for a project. (more…)

North East Gas Grid Project: Can we Promote Natural Gas as a Sustainable Fuel?

On January 8th, 2020, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved funding of INR 5,559 Crore for the North-East Gas Grid project. The proposed length of the gas grid pipeline is 1,656 km. The Project will connect Guwahati in Assam to major cities in the North-East Region– Itanagar, Dimapur, Kohima, Gangtok, and Numaligarh to name a few. The original budget for the project was INR 9,262 Crore. The lack of anchor customers makes the Project less economically viable, hence, the government has provided a viability gap funding of 60%, and the association in charge of the Project has stated that the remainder of the funding will be raised through equity and debt. (more…)

Energy Access in India: Is the Disadvantaged Strata Excluded?

Around 940  billion people in the world do not have access to electricity and more than 3 billion people suffer because of lack of access to clean cooking fuels. Since independence, India has made substantial progress, however, it has a huge population, deprived of access to energy, chiefly amongst the vulnerable sections of its population. The Census of 2011 highlights that only 30% households have access to clean fuels out of which only 12% is constituted by the rural population. A research states that tribal populations and people of lower caste have 10-30% less access to clean cooking fuel and electricity majorly due to the caste system and rigid hierarchies in the society. (more…)

Access to Clean Cooking Fuel in India: Aspiring for Gas Pipeline while struggling for LPG

By Anushka Gutte & Mrigakshi Tandon, Research Associates, Policy

In May 2016, the government launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana that aimed at providing 5 crore Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) connections in the name of women of the Below Poverty Line (BPL) household. Research suggests that only 18 percent of rural households in India have access to LPG as cooking fuel, whereas the rest use different, more tedious, unclean and hazardous means for cooking. Moreover, access to LPG connections is largely limited to the urban and semi-urban areas covering the middle income and affluent households. People belonging to BPL category or rural areas have little or no access to these connections. They predominantly use ‘chullahas’ where they burn wooden sticks in the stove for cooking, which makes these families, especially the females therein, vulnerable to harmful fumes. (more…)

Animal Agriculture: Tracing the Roots of Injustice and Scope for the Future

Humans have gone from relying on nature to provide for resources, to manipulating nature to produce resources as per their will. Amidst all our self-serving advancements, we may not realize the simultaneous growth of a self destructive culture growing in our periphery. It is the rapid growth of Animal Agriculture, which we need to acknowledge as it is ailing with the symptoms of massive destruction. Certain reports from the last few years have shown its adverse effects on the climate, and if countries today want to maintain their promises for conserving the environment, then a reduction in meat consumption is the ultimate step required for decreasing their carbon footprint. (more…)

Sustainable Measures for Revamping Urbanisation and Environmental Policies

We organized a one-day public policy Symposium on Urbanisation and Environmental Policies for students and young professionals in New Delhi. It was aimed at reflecting on environmental policies and analyzing their impact on the contemporary urban growth landscape of our country. The discussions and presentations were focused on the need to improve the present legal and policy frameworks and to fill the prevalent gaps therein. (more…)