Current Affairs – January 2018

Mercedes-Benz first to launch locally-made BS-VI-compliant car

German auto major Mercedes-Benz has unveiled India’s first BS-VI-compliant S Class car produced at its Pune facility. The BS-VI-compliant S Class car was unveiled more than two years ahead of Government’s deadline of April 2020 for switching to new BS-VI emission norms.

Key Facts

BS-VI-compliant S Class can run on BS-IV fuel, which will bring down NOx emissions by 68% and PM by 82%. This will lower the CO2 burden by 13% and fuel demand by 10%. This will pave way for other car manufacturers to introduce their vehicles which are compliant with new emission regulation

Bharat Stage Norms

Bharat stage (BS) emission standards are emission standards instituted by Central Government to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles. The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) under Ministry of Environment & Forests and climate change. These standards are based on European regulations were first introduced in 2000.

BS-VI

The Union Government in October 2016 had decided to skip one stage and migrate to BS-VI directly from BS-IV from April 2020 to fight the growing pollution. At present, all new vehicles being registered are BS- IV-emission compliant. By switching to BS-VI, India will join league of US, Japan and European Union, which follow Euro Stage VI emission norms.

Implications of BS-VI standard on environment

BS-IV fuels contain 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur, while BS-V and BS-VI grade fuel will have 10 ppm sulphur. It will also bring down NOx emissions from diesel cars by 68% and 25% from petrol engine cars. Cancer causing particulate matter emissions from diesel engine cars will also come down by a phenomenal 80%.

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Government announces 9 new Smart Cities

Union Minister of Housing and Urban affairs Hardeep Singh Puri has announced a new batch of 9 smart cities under Smart City Mission. With the addition of these 9 smart cities in the fourth round, the total cities picked up under Smart City Mission have reached 99.

Key Facts

The nine cities include three from Uttar Pradesh –Moradabad, Bareilly and Saharanpur, Bihar Sharif (Bihar), Silvassa (Dadra and Nagar Havelli), Erode (Tamil Nadu), Daman and Diu, Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh) and Kavaratti (Lakshadweep). The selected nine cities have proposed an investment of Rs 12,824 crore. This will impact 35.3 lakh persons living in these areas.

The total proposed investment in 99 cities will be to the tune of Rs 2.03 lakh crore. As on January 2018, 189 projects worth Rs. 2237 crore were completed and another 2,948 projects worth Rs. 1.38 lakh crore are in various stages of implementation.

Background

The Smart City Mission is flagship scheme of Union Government that will cover 100 cities and its duration is five years (2015-16 to 2019-20). The focus of mission is on sustainable and inclusive development and set examples which can be replicated in other parts of the city and other cities of the country.

Under the scheme, each city will get Rs.500 crore (Rs. 100 crore per year) from the Centre for implementing various projects. Centre is going to spent Rs. 48,000 crore over five years. States will contribute matching fund of Rs. 48,000 crore from their internal resources or through market borrowing and through private sector.

The selection of the cities was based on scores of cities for carrying out urban reforms in areas including sanitation and governance. Cities that score highest were picked for the project, to be implemented over a 10-year period.

There are 10 core infrastructure elements to be undertaken under Smart City Mission viz. adequate water supply; assured electricity supply; efficient urban mobility and public transport; sanitation, including solid waste management; affordable housing, especially for the poor; robust IT connectivity and digitalization; good governance, especially e-Governance and citizen participation; sustainable environment; safety and security of citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly; and health and education.

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