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President Pranab Mukherjee announces e-tourist visas for Swedish nationals

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Stockholm/New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday announced e-tourist visas for all Swedish nationals during an interaction with business leaders from India and Sweden in Stockholm.

Mukherjee, who is on a state visit to Sweden, assured the Swedish CEOs that the Indian government is “responsive to industry and investors”.

“It is creating an appropriate atmosphere in the country to promote investment and manufacturing. A constant dialogue between investors and officials will help at the arrival of solutions to specific problems,” he said.

Addressing a Business Seminar later, the President said India-Sweden business relations date back to the early 20th century when Ericsson brought manual switches and telephone systems to India.

Swedish Match established its facility (WIMCO) in India in 1926. Since then, many other Swedish companies have established operations in India. There are 170 Swedish joint ventures and wholly owned subsidiaries in India.

Investments have also begun to flow from India to Sweden with around 50 Indian companies present in Sweden, said a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement.

The president urged businessmen of both sides to reinvent India-Sweden relations and give it new dimensions.

Welcoming the enthusiasm shown by Swedish firms in investing in India, he said the three Ds of India – Democracy, Demography and Demand will ensure that their investments are a huge success.

Pointing out that India is going to become a $8-trillion economy in PPP terms by the end of this year and its international trade will soon cross $1 billion, the president called upon Swedish investors to lend their expertise.

He said India will give them the capacity required, adding that India and Sweden should share their collective wisdom to move forward together, the statement said.

The Swedish CEOs said they are planning to increase their investments and employ more people in India. They warmly welcomed the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative as well as other reform measures underway while they also drew attention to the challenges in doing business in India.

The Swedish CEOs who attended included Jacob Wallenberg, Chairman Investor AB; Hans Vestberg, President and CEO Ericsson; Hakan Buskhe, President and CEO SAAB; Olof Faxander, President and CEO Sandvik; Anders Grundstramer, Senior VP Scania/MD of Scania India; Carl-Henric Svanberg, Chairman Volvo Group and Goran Westerberg, CEO Rusta, the statement said.  (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)