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Air quality in Delhi-NCR very poor, slight improvement likely in next 48 hours

Air quality in Delhi-NCR very poor, slight improvement likely in next 48 hours

The air quality in Delhi-NCR remained “very poor” on Friday and is expected to improve slightly over the next two days due to an increase in wind speed.

Experts said the pollution levels will dip slightly from “very poor” to “poor” in the next 48 hours but will shoot up again November 25 onwards.

The overall air quality index in Delhi stood at 360 at 2 pm. Rohini was the most-polluted area with an AQI of 416, followed by Bawana (411) and Anand Vihar (410). Mundka (401), Narela (401) and Vivek Vihar (402) also recorded their air quality in the “severe” category. The AQI in neighbouring Ghaziabad (400), Greater Noida (390) and Noida (384) also bordered the “severe” zone. An AQI between 201 and 300 is considered ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’ and 401-500 ‘severe’.

An expert at Skymet Weather, a private forecaster, said moderate winds from November 23 would bring some relief but it will be temporary as another western disturbance from November 25 will again cause the wind speed to dip.

“There are chances of good rain on November 25 and 26. If that happens, pollutants will be washed away. Otherwise, long-term relief is expected only after November 28,” he said. The Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting And Research also said, “The air quality is forecast to improve to the lower end of the ‘very poor’ category on Saturday. Further improvement to the poor category is expected by Sunday.”

Due to cloudy weather, the satellites have been able to detect only 141 fires in Haryana and Punjab, it said. “The transport-level winds are westerly which are not very favorable for plume intrusion.

No significant stubble impact is expected for the next two days,” it said.

Union Environment Minister: Will take lesser time than Beijing to improve air quality

Union Environment Minister: Will take lesser time than Beijing to improve air quality

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday exuded confidence that the country will take less time than the 15 years taken by Beijing to improve air quality in the national capital. Responding to a discussion on “air pollution and climate change”, the minister said a mass movement is needed to tackle the problem.

“It took Beijing 15 years (to fight air pollution). We will take lesser time,” the Minister said, referring to the air quality in Delhi. There is a relation between pollution and climate change, the Environment Minister said, adding that 40 per cent of India’s total power capacity will come from renewable sources before 2030.

Noting that India’s green cover is increasing, the minister said five times more trees have been planted in the national capital in place of trees cut down for construction of the Delhi Metro. Observing that pollution in Delhi was the topic of discussion in the entire country, he said the “solution of the problem will come only when we recognize the problem.”

The air quality in Delhi was in the ‘very poor’ category on Friday, improving slightly from the ‘severe’ level a day ago. The overall air quality index (AQI) was 364 at 9.30 am. On measures being taken to control pollution, the Minister said round-the-clock monitoring was taking place.

The Union Minister also said that a ban has been put on the use of furnace oil and emission norms have been enhanced.

The government has formed a task force on Delhi’s toxic smog and every day the monitoring was being done by the Prime Minister’s Office. The more trees planted, the more it will help in reducing pollution, Union Minister said.

“If each one of us pledges to plant seven trees an oxygen bank will automatically be created,” the Minister said. Earlier participating in a debate on pollution, Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said there has to be a concerted effort to deal with this problem. Both state and central governments should work together to deal with the issue of pollution which has become a matter of concern.

“We need a climate-smart economy, You should introduce climate literacy,” Union Minister said. Choudhary charged that the Environment and Forest Ministry under the NDA government appear to be pro-business rather than pro-conservation.

Climate change was never mentioned in the Budget in the last couple of year, Union Environment Minister said, adding, this shows the importance of being imparted by the government to this important issue. Jagdambika Pal (BJP) said pollution is not only life-threatening but also affecting GDP growth.

P V Sindhu advances to 2nd round of Hong Kong Open Badminton

P V Sindhu advances to 2nd round of Hong Kong Open Badminton

In Hong Kong Open Badminton, World Champion P V Sindhu started her campaign in style by progressing to the second round. Sixth seed Sindhu took 36 minutes to see off world no 19 Kim Ga Eun of Korea. She will face Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan next. However, Saina Nehwal and Sameer Verma were ousted in their respective opening rounds.

Eighth-seeded Saina, suffered her fifth first-round loss in the last six tournaments, going down to China’s Cai Yan Yan for the second successive time.  World no.16 Sameer fought for 54 minutes before going to Wang Tzu Wei of Chinese Taipei 11-21, 21-13, 8-21 in the opening match. It was his third successive loss in the opening round.

Supreme Court puts CJI office in RTI ambit

Supreme Court puts CJI office in RTI ambit

The Chief Justice of India’s office will now fall within the ambit of the right to information; the Supreme Court’s constitution bench upholds the Delhi High Court order, says only names of judges recommended for appointment by collegium can be disclosed, not the reasons.

The of the Chief Justice of India would now fall within the ambit of the Right to Information Act. In a significant judgment..the Supreme Court itself said on Wednesday that the CJI’s office is a public authority under the RTI Act. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi upheld the 2010 Delhi High Court verdict and dismissed the appeals filed by Secretary General of the Supreme Court and the Central Public Information officer of the apex court.


— RTI cannot be used as a tool of surveillance
— Judicial independence has to be kept in mind while dealing with transparency
— and only names of judges recommended by the Collegium for an appointment can be disclosed not the reasons

Apart from the CJI, those comprising the constitution bench delivering the judgment included Justices N V Ramana, D Y Chandrachud, Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna. The CJI & Justices Deepak Gupta & Sanjeev Khanna wrote one judgment..while Justices N V Ramana & D Y Chandrachud penned separate verdicts. The top court held that-

— the Right to Privacy is an important aspect and it has to be balanced with transparency while deciding to give out information from the office of the Chief Justice
— Justice Sanjiv Khanna said the independence of judiciary and transparency go hand in hand
— Justice Ramana, who concurred with Justice Khanna, said there should be a balancing formula for Right to Privacy and Right to transparency and independence of the judiciary should be protected from breach

It was RTI Activist S C Agrawal who first raised the issue of CJI’s office falling within RTI ambit. When the Central Information Commission directed the Supreme Court to provide the information sought in 2008, the matter reached the Delhi High Court.

Several RTI activists have welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict. It was on the 10th of January, 2010 that the High Court decreed that the CJI’s office comes within RTI’s ambit, saying judicial independence was not a judge’s privilege but a responsibility cast upon him. The matter then went to a 3-judge divisional bench which dismissed the Supreme Court’s contention that bringing the CJI’s office within the RTI Act would “hamper” judicial independence..

Clearly, the top court’s decision will not only strengthen the right to information but will also enhance transparency in the country.

PM Modi holds bilaterals on the sidelines of BRICS Summit

PM Modi holds bilaterals on the sidelines of BRICS Summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds bilateral meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Brasilia; PM says Indo-Russia relations are progressing in the right direction courtesy frequent top-level meets;  PM Modi also held bilaterals with leaders of Brazil & China.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Brasilia for the 11th BRICS Summit. The Prime Minister held a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the sidelines of the summit.

During the meeting, the leaders discussed flourishing relations between the country, the growth in trade and investment.

PM said Indo-Russia relations are progressing in the right direction courtesy frequent top-level meets. This was their fourth meeting of the year, they last met in Vladivostok. PM Modi expressed happiness over the invitation he received to visit Russia in May, 2020.

Air quality in Delhi deteriorates to hazardous level

Air quality in Delhi deteriorates to hazardous level

The air quality turned hazardous in Delhi as the citizens defied the Supreme Court-enforced two-hour limit for bursting crackers on Diwali on Sunday night.

According to government agencies, at 11 p.m., Delhi’s overall Air Quality Index, AQI, stood at 327. AQI at Mother Dairy in Patparganj area and National Malaria Institute, Dwarka was recorded at 999 and 763 respectively. The levels of PM 10 tiny particulate matter had reached as high as 515 micro-grams per cubic metre in Anand Vihar during the day.

An AQI between 301-400 is considered very poor, and 401-500 severe. Above 500 is severe-plus emergency category. Twenty-five of the 37 air quality monitoring stations in the capital recorded their AQI in very poor category or beyond.

With Delhi’s air quality plummeting to dangerous levels around Diwali every year, the Supreme Court in 2018 banned polluting firecrackers. It had ordered that only green firecrackers, which is said to cause 30 per cent less pollution, can be manufactured and sold. But the green firecrackers have failed to draw good response both from sellers and buyers, primarily due to lack of variety, limited stock and high prices.

According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, SAFAR, the highest impact of firecracker emissions is expected early today from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.

Apprehending a dip in air quality, the Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, EPCA, on Friday banned construction activities at night in Delhi-NCR from Saturday to Wednesday. It also directed closure of coal-based industries, barring power plants, in Faridabad, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, Sonepat and Bahadurgarh during the period.

A PMO-led panel has directed implementing agencies and the NCR states to intensify anti-pollution measures up to mid-November so that there is immediate impact on air quality. The Centre has also asked Haryana and Punjab to stop stubble burning completely for the next critical days