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Save the Planet: Top 5 Eco-Friendly Vehicles in India that You can Drive!

Not only daily transport vehicles, even personal vehicles are being modified in the hope of a pollution-free environment

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Representational Image (Eco-friendly car), Pixabay

Nov 17, 2016: Being the home to 1.2 billion people, the increasing rate of pollution in India has become a very important topic these days. It has one of the largest road transport networks in the world. Almost 65% of the pollution in India is caused by automobile-induced pollutants.

Recently, for the sake of a greener and healthier environment, the idea of eco-friendly vehicles has been well-received in the Indian automobile market. For a long time, rickshaws and bicycles have been a part of daily transportation in the suburban and urban areas. Now these eco-friendly options are being much more valued than auto-rickshaws and engine-vans that produce a lot of carbon monoxide and other pollutant gases in a large scale. No wonder these eco-friendly vehicles have been commercially so successful in such a short span of time.

[bctt tweet=”Battery operated miniature autos, locally called “toto”, have gained immense popularity in India.” username=””]

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In West Bengal, the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has recently introduced the “Sabuj-sathi” scheme to distribute bicycles among the high school seniors. Hand-pulled and peddled rickshaws have been a common daily transport scenario in Kolkata and recently battery operated miniature autos, locally called “toto”, have gained immense popularity.

An Indian woman crosses a road as vehicles move through morning smog on the last day of a two-week experiment to reduce the number of cars to fight pollution in New Delhi, Jan. 15, 2016. VOA
An Indian woman crosses a road as vehicles move through morning smog on the last day of a two-week experiment to reduce the number of cars to fight pollution in New Delhi, Jan. 15, 2016. VOA

These mostly six-seater vehicles are powered by solar-charged or electric batteries and these evoke no smoke, as in these cause no pollution. They are fast and light-weight and they make no sound as well- that’s why a number of auto drivers are drawn towards these too. In simple word, these “totos” are a much hassle free, faster, greener alternative to typical autos and such local transport vehicles.

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Mr. Shyam Sundar Bagchi, the founder of eco-friendly local transport vehicles’ drivers’ forum in Kolkata, said in an interview, “Pollution is not a joke. The way our daily vehicles are responsible for that is much more disheartening. Since we can’t cut down our daily transportation needs, we must cut down the rate of pollution we cause. That’s why we need more battery operated vehicles.”

Not only daily transport vehicles, even personal vehicles are being modified in the hope of a pollution-free environment. New and environment-friendly mobility solutions are engaging the automobile industry like never before. From two-wheeler to passenger and commercial vehicle manufacturers, companies are keen on exploiting the electric and hybrid technology. Companies like Toyota, Volvo, Hero even BMW have taken interest in these.

Here is a list of the top 5 hybrid/electric cars available in India:

  • Mahindra e2o
  • Volvo XC90 T8 Plug-In Hybrid | Volvo XC90 T8 Plug-In Hybrid
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid | Toyota Camry Hybrid
  • BMW i8
  • Mahindra eVerito

Finally, all that can be said about these eco-friendly vehicles is that India needs more and more of these if we really wish to work on our pollution problem. In personal and local transport system, much more eco-friendly vehicles have to be introduced. A very small number of Indians are actively using these vehicles; the number must increase.

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The cost of such vehicles should be decreased so that more and more common people can afford them. We all should take initiative to inform people about the positive sides of eco-friendly mobility solutions. With pollution levels in our metropolitan cities on the rise, eco- friendly transport alternatives can help us accomplish our coveted goal of an environment free of pollution.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram with inputs from agencies. Twitter: @dubumerang

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India Needs to Improve its Educational Outcomes to Catch up with China

To catch up with China, India needs to lay emphasis on improving its educational outcomes

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The Article 30 of the Constitution gives religious and linguistic minorities “the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.”
India needs to improve its educational outcomes to catch up with China. Pixabay

By Amit Kapoor

Both China and India started building their national education systems under comparable conditions in the late 1940s. Different policies and historical circumstances have, however, led them to different educational outcomes, with China outperforming India not just in terms of its percentage of literate population and enrollment rates at all levels of education, but also in terms of number of world-class institutions in higher education, and greater research output.

The roots of China’s successful education system date back to the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), which unintentionally expanded access to the primary education through democratising the schooling system, which was previously elitist in character, thus addressing the problem of mass illiteracy.

In contrast, India continued to focus on its higher education system since independence and only realised the importance of basic education in 1986, keeping it behind China and many other countries in Asia in educational development. In terms of enrollment, China reached a 100 percent gross enrollment rate (GER) in its primary education in 1985, whereas, India attained that level only in 2000.

In terms of secondary school enrollment, India and China both started at the similar rates in 1985, with about 40 percent of their population enrolled in secondary schools. However, due to a wider base of primary school students, the rate of increase in China has been much faster than in India, with 99 percent secondary enrollment rate in China and 79 percent in India in 2017.

India is closing in on the Chinese rate in terms of access to education, but on the literacy level front, there is a huge gap in the percentage of literate populations in the two countries. In the age group of 15-24 years, India scores 104th rank on literacy and numeracy indicator, compared to China’s 40th rank.

The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which assesses after every three years the domain knowledge of 15-year-old students in reading, mathematics, science and finance, revealed that students in China performed above the OECD average in 2015. Moreover, one in four students in China are top performers in mathematics, having an ability to formulate complex situations mathematically. Further, China outperforms all the other participating countries in financial literacy, by having a high ability to analyse complex finance products. For India, the comparable data is not available as it was not a participating country in PISA 2015.

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Representational image.

However, in India, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2017 provides data for rural youth, aged 14-18, with respect to their abilities to lead productive lives as adults. According to this survey, only about half of the 14-year-old children in the sample could read English sentences, and more than half of the students surveyed could not do basic arithmetic operations, like division. For basic financial calculations, such as managing a budget or making a purchase decision, less than two-thirds could do the correct calculations.

With regard to the higher education system, both India and China dominate the number of tertiary degree holders because of their large population size, but when it comes to the percentage of the population holding tertiary degrees, only about 10 per cent and 8 per cent of the population possess university degrees in China and India, respectively. By contrast, in Japan, almost 50 per cent of the population holds a tertiary degree, and in the United States, 31 per cent of the population hold a tertiary degree.

In terms of the international recognition of universities, the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Ranking for 2019 places seven of the China’s universities in the top 200, compared to none for India. The global university rankings, which are based on various performance metrices, pertaining to teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industrial income, shows progress for several of China’s low-ranked universities, largely driven by improvements in its citations.

In fact, the Tsinghua University has overtaken the National University of Singapore (NUS) to become the best university in Asia due to improvements in its citations, institutional income and increased share of international staff, students and co-authored publications.

Also Read- Researchers Turn Carbon Emissions into Usable Energy

While India has progressed in terms of massification of education, there is still a lot which needs to be done when it comes to catching up with the China’s educational outcomes. China’s early start in strengthening its primary and secondary education systems has given it an edge over India in terms of higher education. Moreover, Chinese government strategies are designed in line with the criterion used in major world university rankings, especially emphasis is on the two factors which weigh heavily in the rankings — publications and international students.

The relentless publications drive, which is very evident in China, is weak in India and has led to a growing gap in the number of publications contributed by the two countries. Further, China enrolled about 292,611 foreign students in 2011 from 194 countries, while India currently only has 46,144 foreign students enrolled in its higher education institutions, coming from 166 countries. The large number of international enrollments in China is a reflection of its state policies granting high scholarships to foreign students.

To catch up with China, India needs to lay emphasis on improving its educational outcomes. Massification drive for education has helped India raise its student enrollments, but a lot needs to be done when it comes to global recognition for its universities. Further, it needs to focus on building the foundation skills which are acquired by students at the school age, poor fundamental skills flow through the student life, affecting adversely the quality of education system. (IANS)