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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 Define Special Placement of Function of Intelligence in Interest of National Security

The Pulwama attack on a CRPF convoy, in February last, by a suicide bomber of Jaish-e-Mohammad, was a case more of inadequate response

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India, Intelligence, National Security
Terrorists would always have a lead in springing up surprises -- it has to be appreciated, therefore, that the agencies using both human and technical means have produced information to preempt them in most cases. Pixabay

It is a matter of deep satisfaction for the people of India that our Intelligence agencies moulded in a non-political work ethos and practising the dictum of ‘working with urgency even when there was no emergency’ enabled the first Modi regime to successfully deal with the threats to national security — particularly in Kashmir where they helped the security forces to pursue Intelligence-based operations that guaranteed minimal collateral damage in counter-terror work. Terrorists would always have a lead in springing up surprises — it has to be appreciated, therefore, that the agencies using both human and technical means have produced information to preempt them in most cases.

The Pulwama attack on a CRPF convoy, in February last, by a suicide bomber of Jaish-e-Mohammad, was a case more of inadequate response than Intelligence failure. In security, failure of ‘action’ not of ‘information’ does happen often enough to remind us of the need to improve coordinated responses to Intelligence alerts and to never be dismissive about information. No Intelligence is ‘non-actionable’ as it should rightly be presumed to be the tip of the iceberg warranting all possible preventive measures, howsoever tedious these might seem to be for the action takers.

Most of the serious threats to national security have external and internal dimensions and the Multi Agency Centres at Delhi and in the state capitals with years of functioning now, make sure that the available actionable information is passed on to the concerned functionaries without delay and that further lines of pursuit to dig out more intelligence were specified as an ongoing task. Our Inteligence agencies — inheriting a British tradition — exercise the sovereign power of identifying the emerging threats to national security and initiating the effort to ‘cover’ them to ensure a constant flow of information on them without waiting for a clearance from the political executive. They have to keep the latter fully informed at the same time. This is what enables the agencies to go on without change of pace even when a new government assumes charge at the Centre after a General Election.

The system in India has upheld the position that national security was above politics and this principle was in play for most times since India became a democratic republic in 1950 — except for spells when the Intelligence chief of the day himself fell short of the highest levels of objectivity and independence. The natural changes brought about by the country’s democratic process enabled me to serve as Director Intelligence Bureau with three Prime Ministers of different political backgrounds — Congress, BJP and the United Front. Since the institution of National Security Advisor did not exist then, that function was also built into the DIB’s working in my time. I can say with emphasis that all the three valued IB’s information on national security even when they chose to run their politics in their own ways – by and large without involving Intelligence agencies in their political agenda.

India, Intelligence, National Security
It is a matter of deep satisfaction for the people of India that our Intelligence agencies moulded in a non-political work ethos and practising the dictum of ‘working with urgency even when there was no emergency’ enabled the first Modi regime to successfully deal with the threats. Pixabay

Because of the ever enlarging threat scenario, Intelligence agencies were in need of more manpower, funds and logistical support. As a historical legacy Intelligence Bureau was manned and led by officers of IPS — this made for the agency’s close cooperation with and a much-needed mentoring role in regard to the state police organisations. The Bureau was regarded as a Central Police Organisation for cadre management but was not otherwise bracketed with the investigation outfits or the para military organisations of the government. Intelligence agencies have a bulk of operators directly recruited from amongst the best through a rigorous examination and thoroughly trained in the trade craft.

The IPS officers leading them are on a turf of anonymity, covert operations and delicate information gathering — entirely different from the sphere of visible legal action handled by men in uniform including investigators. The Intelligence set-up, therefore, ought to have its own performance and promotion parameters. This is what gave Director IB the status and pay grade as the most senior police officer in the country in keeping with his function as the Chairman of the DGPs Conference even when IPS officers with longer years of service headed the state police or other police organisations at the Centre.

Intelligence agencies in Indian conditions handle only ‘information’ accessed through trade craft techniques and the responsibility of taking ‘action’ against a suspect in a legally empowered way would fall on the state police or a central investigation body like the NIA. The Intelligence agencies act as the eyes and ears of the sovereign power ruling the democratic state and could be scanning any other functionary — high or low — in the national interest under the express authorisation of the highest political executive exercising that power. Since Intelligence agency does not dictate ‘action’ or ‘policy’ it cannot be blamed for any legally untenable response of the police. The Centre needs to define the special placement of the function of Intelligence in the interest of national security.

The internal security situation in the country and the developing threat scenario around the world justify a quantum jump being made in the manpower and resources provided to the Intelligence set-up in general and Intelligence Bureau — the mother agency for counter intelligence work — in particular. IB watches every nook and corner of the country where terror agents and other anti-national elements might be harbouring taking advantage of the free society offered by Indian democracy. Kashmir, typically, illustrated the challenge to national security created by the paucity of ‘Intelligence from below’. Now that the J& K has been fully integrated with the rest of the country the Centre must raise enough trained professionals of the state to cover every Panchayat circle and town from the angle of counter terror watch. Failure to quickly identify the local masterminds behind the organised stone pelting was a major reason why the J&K government could not effectively handle the civic disturbances occurring in Srinagar and elsewhere in recent months. The collusion of the Valley parties ruling the state with the pro-Pak Hurriyat was the principal reason why the state administration remained infested with separatists and failed to work for the development and uplift of the average Kashmiri.

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A hard-pressed organisation like IB should have no ‘vacancies’ caused by procedural delays arising out of the issue of equivalence of batch positions of IPS officers serving elsewhere. An officer is inducted and kept in IB purely on a special evaluation of merit and suitability and a faster career graph for him or her during the stay with the agency should be a part of the deal. IB, in any case, was expected to be ahead of the state cadres in matters of promotion. National security is the joint preserve of the Centre and the states. Cadre management complexities should not, therefore, be allowed to come in the way of central Intelligence agencies getting the best of the available manpower at any point of time. The new global terror targeting the Indian subcontinent adds urgency to this requirement. (IANS)