Brainstorming Workshop on National Air Quality Resource Framework of India (NARFI)

Prof. Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser to Govt. of India, inaugurated a Brainstorming Workshop on 22nd June 2022 at India International Centre, New Delhi to kick start an ambitious National Mission on “National Air Quality Resource Framework of India (NARFI)” developed by the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru with the support from the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser (O/o PSA) to the Government of India. The framework will provide an all-inclusive guide to collecting air quality data, studying its impact and implementing science-based solutions.    

Speaking at the event, Prof. Sood stressed the need to bring together all stakeholders from government, industry and citizens. “[Tackling pollution] is a complex and multi-dimensional problem which will require researchers, government officials and citizens to come-together.  Solutions to the problem will require an integrated, multi-sectoral science and technology approach, while also addressing the social aspect of the problem” remarked Prof. Sood.  

The inaugural function was also graced by Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Director, NIAS and former Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Govt. of India, Dr. (Mrs.) Parvinder Maini, Scientific Secretary O/o PSA, Dr Randeep Guleria, Director AIIMS, New Delhi, Prof Gufran Beig and Dr. M. Mohanty the Project Coordinators of NARFI. The workshop saw participation of delegates from government and non-government agencies, scientists, industry and start-up representatives.

While presenting the overview of the mission, Prof Gufran Beig emphasized the absence of authenticated and integrated information on air quality in the country. To fulfil this vacuum, a science-based integrated air quality resource framework is needed. NARFI, supported by O/o PSA and implemented by NIAS is a timely step in the right direction.  The NARFI is an information mechanism to help decision-makers in government, municipalities, start-ups and in the private sectors to address air pollution issues in different climatic zones of India. Research-based audited Information and industry-oriented solutions will be shared in an easy-to-understand format. The short-term basic training modules tailored for different groups such as active ground level staff in government establishments, implementers, media and policymakers, would be an integral part of the framework. All this can help enrich communication and enhance general awareness, leading to self-mitigation. The NARFI will evolve around the following five modules:

  • THEME-1: Emission Inventory, Air Shed, and Mitigation
  • THEME-2: Impacts on Human Health and Agriculture
  • THEME-3: Integrated Monitoring, Forecasting and Advisory Framework
  • THEME-4: Outreach, Social Dimension, Transition Strategy and Policy
  • THEME-5: Solutions, Public-Industry Partnership, Stubble Burning & New Technologies.

It was stressed that there is a need to have close cooperation between researchers and industries in order to get faster solutions. Linking reduction of air pollution in the health and agriculture sectors is important for citizens to understand the gravity of the situation and solutions for the same.

“We are largely dependent on the models created in the west to tackle this problem. The NARFI will enable knowledge creation, developing infrastructure and industrial structures and studying its effects on human health in the country” remarked Prof. Shailesh Nayak about the goal of NARFI.

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A brainstorming session on ‘Logistics workforce strategy- Enhancing skill and employment opportunities’

A Post Budget seminar on ‘PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan: Creating Synergy for Accelerated Economic Growth’ held on 28th February, 2022. In the seminar, a session on ‘Logistics workforce strategy- Enhancing skill and employment opportunities’ was also organized.

Shri K Sanjay Murthy, Secretary, Higher Education; Shri Rajesh Agarwal, Secretary, MSDE; Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog; Shri Amrit Lal Meena, Special Secretary, Logistics; Shri Giridhar Aramane, Secretary, MoRTH; and Shri Anurag Jain, Secretary, DPIIT and representatives of various associations exchanged their views on the progressive announcements made in the Budget to bolster India’s transportation and logistics sector that would be instrumental in creating new opportunities of employment and take the country on the road to inclusive economic growth.

Shri Rajesh Aggarwal said that the discussions will aim to address the various challenges faced by the logistics sector especially with a view to improve our domestic logistics network and Gati Shakti can be a light in this direction. He further said that the logistics sector, which employs around 22 crore people, requires multi-stakeholder collaboration on skilling.

Shri Aggarwal highlighted that Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and other ministries have already trained more than five crore people. Additionally, the Logistics Sector Skill Council (LSSC) has trained at least seven lakh candidates in job roles like documentation assistant, inventory clerks, courier delivery, and warehouse related jobs. Going forward, we need to identify students who are suited for the logistic skilling and reskilling models. He informed that aligning itself with the New National Education Policy, the SSC has launched courses in ITIs and polytechnics not only for engineers but also for humanity students. He expressed his confidence that with collective efforts we will be able to develop a cost-effective modern infrastructure that will empower India further.

Talking about the need of institution building, Shri K Sanjay Murti said that establishing an exclusive university for logistics might not be the right approach. Instead, we should have well defined and structured courses in existing universities, which will serve the industry’s needs. He informed that they have already developed a draft module and circulated to All India Council for Technical Education, IITs and NITs with the aim to give all students, across disciplines, the access to a 20 credit or 40 credit courses. Going forward, through National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), we are also working on other courses that will be available online and in the Digital University proposed in Union Budget 2022, he added.

During the session, Mr R. Dinesh, Chairman Logistics Sector Skill Council and MD, TVS Supply Chain Solutions, stated that there is a need to look at embedding, international aspects of skilling in the Indian context as Logistics being global and India aspiring to be the human capital for the world, bringing in transnational equivalence for the curricula for all the courses in Logistics need to be emphasized.

Anil Sahasrabudhe said that there is a huge demand in the logistics sector worldwide and many big players are choosing to have their backend offices in India. We need to create a robust workforce of 30 million in the next few years, which is equipped to shoulder the demands of the industry. As a result, we must create awareness when students are still in school so they are encouraged to take up logistics-relevant courses in graduation, he added. He stressed on the need of collaboration between different ministries of the government in order to educate the youth of our country and use their knowledge to come up with innovative solutions for the challenges faced by the sector.



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