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Indian economy full of potential: Chinese expert

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By NewsGram staff writer

Beijing: The Indian economy is full of potential, but how to ensure real growth will test “the wisdom of leaders,” said Zhao Gancheng, Director of Center for Asia-Pacific Studies, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, in a state-run daily.

An opinion piece ‘Can India benefit from Chinese economic slowdown? Think twice in the Global Times on September 7 remarked that the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had set his focus on the economy since he took office.

“New Delhi also holds the ambition of replacing China as the new global factory. The slowdown in the Chinese growth rate seems to offer India a good chance to reach the goal,” said the Chinese expert Gancheng.

Zhao claimed that it raises the question of the nature, relevance and interactions of the Chinese and Indian economy.

“Many analysts correctly point out that the two economies started nearly at the same level in 1980s until the early 1990s, when the per capita GDP was almost the same. But in the next two decades, the fast growth of Chinese economy has widened the gap,” reported the opinion piece.

Pointing out the factors that have affected the Indian economy, the article said, “the most important reasons lie in their policy options and domestic development rather than external environment or international factors. Frankly, China confronted a much harsher external situation during the period than India did.”

“The Indian economy is full of potential, and how to build it becomes a real wisdom test for leaders,” it noted. Praising the policies of Gujarat government when the PM was the state chief, the article noted that the state’s rise as a successful economic model was a clear indication of how efficient Modi has been at economic policies. It added that this brought him to the Prime Minister’s office as he showed promise of development and economic reforms.

“China, which developed consistently fast for decades, has reached a new economy level with an annual GDP as high as $10 trillion ($7,594 per capita), compared to India’s more than $2 trillion ($1,631 per capita). Given that accumulation and development, the Chinese economy has entered the ‘new normal’ in which high growth rate turns to a medium rate and the economic restructuring is well underway,” sources claimed.

Zhao said if Indian economy has to make it big, it will have to address some crucial elements in coming years and “the most important ones include the leadership’s policy options and internal interactions, which have so far not presented a very optimistic picture.”

“Although Modi has been devoted to creating an FDI-friendly environment in order to attract more investment, the results have not been as good as expected. Local interests are difficult for the federal government to coordinate and address when implementing relevant policies,” Zhao added.

The opinion piece took note of the view that although the two Asian giants didn’t compete directly, the effect that China imposes on the global economy is likely to influence the Indian economy. In this regard, whether a slowing Chinese economy will really create more opportunities for the Indian economy requires rethinking.

“…if the global economy slows down further as a part of the outcome of the Chinese economic restructuring, it would be difficult to see why a sluggish world economy would help the Indian economy anyway,” sources quipped.

(With inputs from 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)