World
Lessons from Bejing: Why India must rethink industries, technology
As I write this, I spot over a dozen Chinese men outside my Beijing hotel room wearing air purifier masks on their faces - the price they paid for technology. It stirred some alarming thoughts about where India is heading, and why India has a need to rethink each of its steps towards technological advancement.
 
In this world of homogenization, all metros seem the same, Berlin to Beijing - glittering malls, tall building, fast food and speedy cars.
 
Beijing was also no different from Delhi except for Mandarin on its billboards and it gave the look of what Delhi could be few years ahead -- high speed metros, better looking cars, better looking buildings, cleaner and orderly streets, but men much petite.
 
As high as my expectations were, from a country pioneering in technology, to be battling its pollution levels and other effects of technology, the country seemed to have lost equally bad in its struggle.
 
Living in Delhi, pollution was something which I could see around, but Beijing also got me to experience it. As soon as I stepped out of the airport, my nostrils were flaring up, being an asthma fighter, immediately finding it difficult to breathe. Although there have been attempts from the Chinese government -- denying registrations to older cars and factories -- to fight their pollution monster, the issue seems to be not all that simple to settle the fight.
 
Some of China's pollution fighting technologies earlier, which ran on coal-generated electricity, thereby contributed to higher carbon emissions although air quality would get better - a technology to fight another technology.
 
Result was the sight of a huge population - young to old - donning air purifiers, attempting to breathe cleaner air. Although these air purifiers could filter particulate contaminants in the air there is no evidence that these filters could help in long-term.
 
According to the US Department of State Air Quality Monitoring Program's 'Mission China', the air quality index for Beijing on any average 24 hours of a day shows "unhealthy for sensitive groups" - nearly as unhealthy as smoking 40 cigarettes a day, as per a study.
 
The classic Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City shots at night that I sought as a tourist were rather hazy owing to the smog and were tough to crack them right.
 
The average PM2.5 levels figured between 101-150, as against the safe 0-50 level, and even touched the '"unhealthy" level (151-200) at night. These levels, according to the department, means "active children and adults, and people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion"
 
India, which is still on its road to technological advancement, aims at replicating the Chinese ways, be it "Make in India", be it attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) for its industries and businesses. But its capital city Delhi's air pollution already has touched "hazardous" levels.
 
As per the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the PM2.5 levels in Delhi's air are always above the prescribed safe levels of 60 with an average of 100 units of particulate matter pollution in the air, reaching levels as high as 300 during winters. Delhi has bagged the spot of its competitor Beijing, which was considered to be the most polluted city for long.
 
According to a World Health Organization study last year the concentration of PM2.5 was higher in Delhi than in Beijing, proving Delhi to have the filthiest air in the world.
 
Shouldn't these be indicators for India to rethink technology, industries?
 
Beijing has now assumed its path of green energy, and shut some of its conventional coal-run industries, electricity out of coal to adopt gas-run methods and other non-conventional methods and has improved its air quality much better than before.
 
It was a much needed move for Beijing, to have cleaner means of transportation. A simple move to have "only bicycle" track has helped Beijing a lot - persuading many to use their bicycles or electric bikes. On a majority of the days, there were more bicycles than there would be cars on the road, a solution Delhi needs.
 
Whereas studies on Delhi have been bringing out even horrific angles to the city's pollution. The most recent study by University of Surrey shows that Delhi's air has a "toxic blend" of geography, poor energy resources and unfavourable weather that dangerously "boosts" its pollution.
 
Delhi, I hope you're listening.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Silloo Marker

1 year ago

The above article on very high pollution levels in China and now in Delhi, creates fear of worse things to come unless we clean up our act. Fear seems to be the key to a lot of things we do or not do in life today. This clouds our thinking and does not allow us to work out reasonable solutions with a calm mind. Breathing clean air is not just the responsibility of some government, it can only happen if everyone decides to drive less and walk more, to share more (yes, even one's prized car or TV or computer), to take what one needs and not give in to greed. Technology does not play a part till people put some common sense into play first. Silloo Marker

Maruti Suzuki's October sales up 29 percent
 India's manufacturing sector growth waned further and touched a 22-month low in October largely due to a slower increase in new orders, a leading international business survey showed on Monday.
 
Revealing the weakest purchasing activity since December 2013, the Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) recorded an eight-month low in October at 50.7, down from 51.2 in September and from 52.3 in August.
 
According to the PMI report published by financial information services provider Markit, in which a value above 50 in the reading index indicates an overall increase in manufacturing and below 50 an overall decrease, expansion in production and order books were the weakest in their current 24-month growth sequence.
 
"Rates of expansion in both production and order books were the weakest in their current 24-month sequences of growth, with panellists reporting challenging economic conditions and a reluctance among clients to commit to new projects," the report said.
 
"PMI data for October show a further loss of growth momentum across the Indian manufacturing economy, with a slower rise in new business inflows resulting in a weaker expansion of output," said Pollyanna De Lima, economist at Markit and the report's author.
 
Despite the slowdown in new order growth, manufacturers recruited additional workers in October. Employment rose only marginally for the first time since January.
 
"Undeterred by tough economic conditions overall, firms took extra staff in October. This, combined with a further drop in inventories of finished goods, suggests that production growth may rebound in coming months," Lima said.
 
The report said October saw inflationary pressures return to India's manufacturing economy. Average purchase costs rose, though the rate of increase was "slight", the survey said.
 
Part of the additional cost was passed on to clients by raising tariffs.
 
"A return to inflationary pressures, meanwhile, indicates that RBI may pause its loosening cycle for the rest of the year following a 50 basis points cut of the key repo rate in September," Lima said.
 
"Upcoming survey data will show how effective the central bank's effort to revive the economy has been," Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan on September 29 cut the RBI's repo rate, at which it lends to commercial banks, to 6.75 percent making it the third cut in the bank's short-term lending rate this year.
 
The RBI has also lowered its GDP growth forecast for the current fiscal to 7.4 percent, from its earlier projection of 7.6 percent.
 
Under the PMI, the manufacturing sector is divided into 8 broad categories of basic metals, chemicals and plastics, electrical and optical, food and drink, mechanical engineering, textiles and clothing, timber and paper and transport.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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India's October production growth falls to 22-month low: PMI
 India's manufacturing sector growth waned further and touched a 22-month low in October largely due to a slower increase in new orders, a leading international business survey showed on Monday.
 
Revealing the weakest purchasing activity since December 2013, the Nikkei India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) recorded an eight-month low in October at 50.7, down from 51.2 in September and from 52.3 in August.
 
According to the PMI report published by financial information services provider Markit, in which a value above 50 in the reading index indicates an overall increase in manufacturing and below 50 an overall decrease, expansion in production and order books were the weakest in their current 24-month growth sequence.
 
"Rates of expansion in both production and order books were the weakest in their current 24-month sequences of growth, with panellists reporting challenging economic conditions and a reluctance among clients to commit to new projects," the report said.
 
"PMI data for October show a further loss of growth momentum across the Indian manufacturing economy, with a slower rise in new business inflows resulting in a weaker expansion of output," said Pollyanna De Lima, economist at Markit and the report's author.
 
Despite the slowdown in new order growth, manufacturers recruited additional workers in October. Employment rose only marginally for the first time since January.
 
"Undeterred by tough economic conditions overall, firms took extra staff in October. This, combined with a further drop in inventories of finished goods, suggests that production growth may rebound in coming months," Lima said.
 
The report said October saw inflationary pressures return to India's manufacturing economy. Average purchase costs rose, though the rate of increase was "slight", the survey said.
 
Part of the additional cost was passed on to clients by raising tariffs.
 
"A return to inflationary pressures, meanwhile, indicates that RBI may pause its loosening cycle for the rest of the year following a 50 basis points cut of the key repo rate in September," Lima said.
 
"Upcoming survey data will show how effective the central bank's effort to revive the economy has been," Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan on September 29 cut the RBI's repo rate, at which it lends to commercial banks, to 6.75 percent making it the third cut in the bank's short-term lending rate this year.
 
The RBI has also lowered its GDP growth forecast for the current fiscal to 7.4 percent, from its earlier projection of 7.6 percent.
 
Under the PMI, the manufacturing sector is divided into 8 broad categories of basic metals, chemicals and plastics, electrical and optical, food and drink, mechanical engineering, textiles and clothing, timber and paper and transport.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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