It’s a question that has puzzled Indian policymakers for some time.
The question has been posed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government by a group of academics, and it has sparked a heated debate among officials and scientists over the best approach to clean up the air.
The government has proposed to set up a new air pollution control committee and set up new government air monitors.
The new monitors will be run by the Air Pollution Control Board (APCB), a government body charged with monitoring pollution.
But a senior official, who has access to the draft of the draft, said it would be “ridiculous” to set an air pollution monitoring committee alone, which could “create a situation of confusion” and would lead to “bad implementation” of the recommendations made by the committee.
The draft also recommends that a national control board be set up to oversee the air pollution problem.
The air pollution situation has become an election issue, with the BJP and Congress leaders contesting over who will be the best candidate to clean it up.
The government has been keen to get ahead of any elections-related pollution problems, including the problem of the polluting of the air by the automobile industry, which is one of the biggest polluters in the country.
The APCB’s chairman, Rajendra Kumar, said he expected that the committee would have to come up with recommendations before the end of the year.
But he said the draft committee was not expected to start any new pollution control projects before the next general election, scheduled for 2019.
In fact, it will be several months before it starts work on any new projects, Kumar said.
The Air Polling Control Board is headed by the minister of state for environment, forests and climate change (MoS Gopal Krishna), who is a member of the BJP.
He was appointed in October 2014 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and is also a member on the committee set up by the previous government to study the air quality problem.
In a draft report submitted to the government in October last year, the APCB said it was not clear whether the current level of pollution was a “natural” phenomenon or a result of “poor planning and management of public transport”.
The report said the current situation was “likely to deteriorate” in the next 10 years as the country moves to a more developed industrial and urban development, and pollution in cities would continue to rise.
The report recommended that the government take the following measures to tackle the pollution problem:Set up a national monitor to monitor air quality in cities and towns across the country, and monitor air pollution in rural areas.
Implement a comprehensive strategy to control pollution from private vehicles, the report said.
Immediate steps should be taken to curb the use of power plants and large scale industrial plants, particularly in rural regions.
Establish a national air quality control scheme for the entire country, including cities, towns and villages.
The scheme should include monitoring and reporting of air quality data.
Immediately set up air quality monitoring stations at every major city, town and village.
The plan should include the monitoring of ambient pollutants, particularly nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter, and should include measures to reduce and eliminate the sources of pollution, particularly pollution from power plants.
The proposal should include an annual national pollution report to be submitted to Parliament.
Impose a fine of up to Rs 2 lakh for violations, and ensure that the pollution is taken seriously by government agencies.