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What will it take for India to win the FIFA World cup

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By Devika Sharma

In a nation dominated by cricket and Bollywood, it’s not unusual that people often forget about football. It can be distressing and highly exasperating for football fans in India to constantly remind people of their country`s football team, given the minuscule amount of TV space it occupies at international football tournaments. For those of you who are unaware, India has a national football team, controlled by the All India Football Federation. It is a member of the Asian Football Confederation, and a member of FIFA. In 1948, the AIFF was affiliated to FIFA. But the fact is India, ranked 133rd in the world, has never come close to qualifying for the World Cup.

Only once in 1950 India had a chance to play FIFA world cup but the players were not allowed to participate in the poor man’s game because Indians played soccer barefoot.

Football is called ‘the poor man’s game’. All it requires is a ball and a piece of land. India, a land of more than 1 billion people and a huge geographical area still finds it difficult to compose a strong team. It’s a shock and more of a surprise. Fans feel apathy and anger seeing this state of Indian football.

Let’s play ball

But population and expanse of land are not only the requirements to make a team. The game needs support from the people and the government. It needs will and dedication to be something.

Where’s the football practice?

If the sport needs to grow in terms of popularity, finance and become self dependant, then infrastructure needs to be taken care of.

The government has a crucial role to play in this. There are a 2.5 million government schools in India. Owing to that, the government must provide these with good play grounds and coaches, they should have a good pay scheme for these coaches to encourage them to take initiatives for training young talent. Basic facilities like a square grounds, logistics, promotional events and talent hunt programs must be organized on a national level.

More football tournaments should be organized at the international level which will give the game it’s needed exposure. It’s time for the sports federations to take their  hands out of the cookie jar and actually work for what they have been appointed for. Also the big investors, instead of promoting just cricket must come forward to provide financial help for football and sponsorships for the players. Administration should improve, maybe appointing a world class technical director by the AIFF will help. At last, nothing can raise the profile of the game than the game itself, the more entertaining is the game the more popularity it will gain.

What’s your favorite ISL team?

The biggest force that drives football in the nation is the interest of the young men and women who equally follow football and would love to see our country win laurels in the game.

The Indian Super League, an initiative by IMG and Reliance, two big business firms, wherein big business honchos, sports men and even actors have come forth to buy teams and promote football is a very encouraging step for Indian Football enthusiasts.

The 2014 season, with 8 teams, each of them having a roster of 22 players including 10 foreign players, 8 domestic Indian players, and 4 local Indian players is a step forward to integrate players and followers from around the world with their love for the game being the binder.

The enthusiasm of the youngsters towards not just clubs but the game of football shows that there is still light at the end of the tunnel. India is capable of being the best. If this enthusiasm and initiatives continue to grow, the day won’t be far when the most common notion of people all around the world will be ‘INDIA WILL WIN THE WORLD CUP!’

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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)