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‘India-US will help each other grow in a dynamic global marketplace’ – Arun K. Singh

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By Arun Kumar

Washington: India’s lowering of barriers to investment and encouraging business expansion will help US and Indian companies to further increase their presence in each other’s country, according to Indian ambassador Arun K. Singh.

Image from indiaopines.com
Image from indiaopines.com

“The exchange is good for both nations and should be encouraged,” he said in a blog post in The Hill, a top US political website, noting the two are “economic powerhouses that are helping each other grow in a dynamic global marketplace.”

“We have a stake in each other’s economic future – and that future is very bright,” Singh said citing a new report about Indian companies pouring investment dollars into businesses in the US and creating tens of thousands of American jobs.

The report from the Confederation of Indian Industry and the accounting firm Grant Thornton reveals that not only is Indian investment in the US large, it’s also extremely widespread and clearly growing, he noted.

The 100 Indian-based companies surveyed for the study have made an aggregate $15.3 billion investment in their US operations and created 91,000 jobs in the US, “which by any measure is a substantial contribution to the American economy,” Singh wrote.

The US isn’t just a favoured destination for the time being; it is likely to remain attractive for Indian investors for years, he wrote citing the survey, he said.

“These substantial investments are also a testament to the trust and openness that India and the US enjoy both at the people-to-people and government-to-government levels,” Singh said.

Noting that India, according to Select USA, is now the fourth-fastest growing source of foreign direct investment into the US, he said, “the significant and growing contributions of Indian investments in the US remain a vital component of the bilateral relationship.”

American firms have long been major investors in India, but efforts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make economic growth a hallmark of his administration have accelerated US investment there, he said.

India has been lowering barriers to investment and encouraging business expansion, Singh said noting the Indian government has over the past year raised limits on foreign investment in sectors such as insurance, medical devices, railways and defence.

“This will no doubt provide myriad opportunities for US companies to increase their presence in India and will strengthen Indian companies so that they can enlarge their footprint in the US,” he wrote.

(IANS)

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)