Earlier this month, Centre for Policy Research has released a new report entitled Pursuing a Clean Air Agenda in India During the COVID Crisis.
In the report, Santosh Harish and Shibani Ghosh attempt to highlight how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the air quality discourse in the country and what the next steps might be. They also identify five opportunities for action:
- Provide increased, better targeted subsidies as part of a social protection package to allow poor households to use LPG as their primary cooking fuel.
- Retire old coal power plants so that newer or less polluting plants can meet a larger fraction of the demand.
- Sustain the increased rate of shifting away from paddy cultivation in Punjab and Haryana, and ensure that the alternatives (e.g. maize, cotton) are truly viable for farmers.
- Sustain gains made in the form of increased acceptability and experience with work-from-home and online meetings to reduce commuting, especially by private vehicles and cabs.
- Channel the demand for vehicle scrappage policies towards the replacement of old, heavily polluting vehicles, especially trucks.