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Deepa Menon-Choudhary1, P.R.Shukla 2; 1Centre de Science and Humaines 2Indian Institute of Management


An integrated approach is a key requirement for managing the deterioration of air quality in India. The current strategy for air quality management is piecemeal and provides curative solutions. Initiatives for developing long-term preventive strategies, especially in rapidly urbanizing centers, are rarely taken. Moreover, the deteriorating air quality is embedded in the overall developmental process and the two have to be addressed simultaneously and not separately as is currently happening. The lack of a comprehensive long-term strategy that addresses the problem in an integrated manner ultimately results in implementation failures. This study addresses the gap by proposing an integrated approach to manage air quality in India, especially in urban centers, in a socially optimal manner. This is achieved by, a) designing an integrated framework for policy assessment, b) analyzing existing instruments like Euro norms (for vehicular emissions) and market-based instruments like emissions trading (for industrial sources), and c) institutional analysis. The analysis tools include a long-term energy-environment optimization model, AIM/Local (Asia-Pacific Integrated/Local Model), to analyze alternate instruments for controlling SO2 emissions from large point sources, like power plants, in India and a case study of Delhi to analyze policies and institutions for tackling vehicular pollution in the city. The paper proposes that integration, both at micro and macro level, is necessary to tackle air quality issues comprehensively. At the micro level, integration is required between policies, instruments, models and institutions that are the basic components of an air quality management strategy. Further, an integrated framework for policy assessment is proposed that links emissions to impacts such that costs of impacts are internalized in the economic activities responsible for the pollution. As a macro strategy, development policies have to be integrated with environment protection so as to guide the development path towards an environment-friendly development. The insights and recommendations include: a) there is diminishing marginal benefits from advanced Euro norms and lack of necessary pre-conditions to achieve even these benefits; in this context, a technology-equivalent policy is proposed, where the emission norms are balanced with non-technical measures: b) compared to existing technology-push policies, emissions trading generates an annual average cost-savings of US$96 million for equivalent SO2 emissions reduction from power plants in India; thus there is a need to consider economic instruments, based on their suitability to the context: c) the presence of multi-sectoral and multi-level institutions creates coordination problems and high transaction costs in implementation; thus, there is need for a coordinating authority to manage the entire process.

Integrated Approach to Air Quality Management in IndiaIntegrated Approach to Air Quality Management in India
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