The Economic Survey 2017-18 which was tabled in the Lok Sabha today flagged concern over rising air pollution in Delhi-NCR.
The survey ascribes four main reasons for Delhi's worsening air quality:
1. crop residue, biomass burning, vehicular emissions
2. redestributed road dust, industries, power plants
3. winter temperature inversion, humidity
4. absence of wind
The survey suggests that the solution is to address each source problem systematically through coordination between agencies, central and state governments, and sustained civic engagement.
It further states a short-term emergency plan and medium and long-range actions, to deal with the issue.
The short-term emergency plan is to be implemented when 24-hourly Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 exceeds 300-400µg/m3, including imposing heavy penalties on burning of agricultural waste, using satellite-based tools to detect fires, payment of incentives to farmers.
The medium and long-range actions include implementing congestion pricing for vehicles, improving public transport system and expanding modernized bus fleets, phasing out old vehicles and accelerating BS-VI.
The survey also notes the use of technology to convert agricultural waste into usable fodder or bio-fuels and provide incentives to shift to non-paddy crops.
It also mentions the 'Happy Seeder' machine that sows seeds without removing paddy straw and suggests that such a technological solution must be combined with economics, by providing incentives to centre and states and should be implemented through agricultural cooperatives and local bodies.
The survey also lists down the adverse impact of indoor pollution on women and children, adding that access to modern energy sources can reduce the amount of time spent on collective of firewood, as well as lead to a positive impact on the education and employment of girls.
Also, a chapter on 'Sustainable Development, Energy and Climate Change' notes India's commitment to environment and climate change that is reflected in the number of actions in supporting sustainable development goals while retaining reliance on cleaner energy, including cleaner, greener coal.
Outlining India's commitment to address climate change, the survey also mentions establishment of eight Global Technology Watch Groups, extending Climate Change Action Programme launched in 2014 for the period 2017-18 to 2019-20 with a budget outlay of Rs 132.4 crore and continuation of National Adaption Fund on Climate Change till March 31, 2020 with financial implication of Rs 364 crore.
The survey states that India has strengthened its response to the threat of climate change in accordance with the principles of equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR), and in the light of national circumstances with the Paris Pledge, it aims to reduce the emission intensity of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 33-35 percent over 2005 levels by the year 2030.
On the issue of sustainable development, the survey states that India's urban population is projected to grow to about 600 million by 2031.
It suggests that urban local bodies generate resources through financial instruments such as municipal bonds, Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) and credit risk guarantees.
The survey says that access to sustainable, modern and affordable energy is the basis of achieving sustainable development goals.
Stating that as on November 30, 2017, the share of renewable energy sources was 18 percent in the total installed capacity of electricity in the country and that the increasing share of renewables has trebled in the last 10 years.