Written with Shri Rajiv Kumar Gupta, chairman of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board
As the dust settles following an historic Indian election, it is an opportune time to think about innovative policy tools that could help India achieve its development goals. In the last term, several schemes have had their roots in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat. To take just two examples, a redesign of the electricity distribution to move towards 24-hour power for rural households, and an innovative scheme to generate female employment through the collection of Neem seeds.
Today, as we commemorate World Environment Day, Gujarat is proving itself to be a trailblazer once again as the state launches the world’s first emissions trading scheme (ETS) for particulate air pollution. This ground-breaking idea was initiated when Modi was chief minister of the state and the pilot will apply to 350 industries in Surat, a densely populated industrial center.
Emissions trading schemes are the rare policy that offer the potential for a win-win-win. Specifically, it is expected that air pollution emissions will decline significantly, and that industry compliance and government enforcement costs will both decrease.