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Mobile phones linked to literacy, prosperity: TISS report

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Mumbai: Households owning mobile phones enjoy a higher level of economic prosperity and literacy compared to those which do not, claims a new report released here on Monday.

The ‘Mobile Multiplier Study’ conducted by Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and Tata Docomo revealed that while 98 percent of postgraduate households in Maharashtra owned a mobile, the figure dropped steeply to 39.1 percent in homes of non-literates.

Sixty-seven percent of mobile-owning homes enjoyed a higher level of economic prosperity, compared to others, with 90 percent of those in the urban areas, revealing a clear correlation between mobile phone ownership and both economic and wider measures of social wellbeing.

On a national scale, 62 percent of mobile-owning households enjoyed economic prosperity with this figure at 50 percent in the rural areas, claims the study which aggregated India’s largest Census data covering nearly 100,000 responses.

“Mobile telephony displays all characteristics of a genuine public good, its use is associated with economic prosperity or higher consumption, besides higher literacy, life expectancy, educational attainment and overall living standards as captured through Human Development Index, especially in an urban context,” said TISS’s Prof. Bino Paul.

Commenting on literacy, Paul said mobile ownership in households of graduates was 93.2 percent and 98 percent in homes of postgraduates, but fell sharply to 39.1 percent in illiterate households.

Mobile ownership increased by 10 percentage points once a household became just literate, meaning the family head can merely read and write and the probability of owning a mobile was more than 1.5 times compared to an illiterate household.

On the other hand, in rural illiterate households, the proportion of mobile owners was 40 percent, but only 20 percent in urban illiterate households.

There is a significant number of households in India where the millennial generation (a person who became an adult in 2000) is heading the family.

The millennial generation is the most sophisticated user of technology, aware and having access to ‘new money’ and they want to use technology to make the difference in their lives.

In Maharashtra, the proportion of households owning a mobile is 64.8 percent where a millennial heads the family, but this extends to more than 80 percent in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Kerala, but below 50 percent in West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and the north-eastern states.

The overall mobile phone ownership in the state stands at 83.6 percent in urban households and 52.6 percent in rural households.

In fact, the national average of proportion of households headed by a millennial and owning a mobile is marginally higher than the households where the family head is a senior citizen.

“It is evident that the power of mobiles is leapfrogging with progression of technology and communication… The second wave of mobile revolution in India has already begun, but will reach its full potential only if access can be extended even further and deeper,” said Tata Teleservices Ltd. president (mobility) Elango Thambiah.

(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)