Special scheme to tackle Delhi air pollution in Budget 2018

The air pollution in Delhi National Capital Region has caught the attention of union government which has announced a special scheme to tackle the menace of crop burning by farmers

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New Delhi: The pollution issue in the national capital region has been duly acknowledged in the union budget. Union finance minister, Arun Jaitley announced a scheme in his budget speech to support the governments of Delhi and neighboring states in tackling high levels of air pollution.

As a measure to tackle the challenge of air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region, Mr  Jaitley said that a special Scheme will be implemented to support the efforts of the governments of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and the NCT of Delhi to address air pollution and to subsidize machinery required for in-situ management of crop residue.

While the measure is being hailed by the experts, they are also skeptical about the quick implementation.

In the past few years, the Delhi-NCR area has experienced alarmingly poor air quality, especially in winters when farmers in northern India burn stubble after harvesting the crop.

In the 2017-18 winter too Delhi experienced high levels of air pollution, with air quality crossing the “severe” level, which is several times the safe limit. Burning of agricultural waste, dust and pollution from vehicles were among the main identified reasons behind high levels of pollution.

The National Economic Report has identified vehicular emissions and construction activity as causes of high pollution levels in the NCR. It had recommended solutions such as “congestion pricing” for vehicles, expanding and improving the public bus system to reduce private vehicle use, phasing out of old vehicles, and accelerating Bharat Stage VI (BS VI) emissions norms due to be in place from April 2020.