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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Ambiguous drafting continues to dog the NDA’s coalblock auction plans

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an iffy clause in India’s new coal bill

the coal bill was passed by the lok sabha yesterday. it now goes to the rajya sabha. the auctions will start soon. and i am waiting to see how fair the auctions are. and whether oligarchs again manage to corner the damn blocks.

india’s coal boom and attendant air quality fears…

a closer look at the tsr subramanian committee report

scroll down and you will see another story on the report. on its proposal for better monitoring. see that too.

can self-certification control emissions?

A high-level committee headed by former cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian has, among other things, proposed a radical overhaul of how India ensures compliance with environmental clearances. Arguing that the present system, built around physical inspection by government employees, has created a rent-seeking ‘inspector raj’, the committee — which was set up by the government to review environment-related laws — has proposed an “utmost good faith clause”… In both environmental and industry circles, there is scepticism about the proposal.

The good faith clause is built on the assumption that industry will provide data which might be used against it. In this story, I argue the system will, ergo, get gamed.

Why people fretting about Delhi’s low air quality are missing the bigger picture

In May this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that Delhi’s air quality is the worst in the world. In the months that followed this perception about Delhi’s air has strengthened further as winter smog set in the capital. This perception, however, could be incorrect. Air quality of other Indian cities and towns could be worse than Delhi’s. That is because the air quality information being generated by the state and central pollution control boards is badly flawed, and we don’t have credible information about air quality in any place other than the capital.