Delhiites could live 3 years longer if the Clean Air Plan works out

National Clean Air Programme,Delhi pollution,Delhi air

Delhi’s residents could hope to live 3.35 years longer if the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) is implemented and the reduction in air pollution is sustained, according to Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman professor in economics at University of Chicago and the director of the Energy Policy Institute (EPIC).

Greenstone is one of the creators of the Air Quality Life Index of AQLI which measures the impact of particulate matter pollution on life expectancy. According to Michael Greenstone, Delhi is among the most polluted cities in the world.

NCAP, which was launched by India’s environment minister Harsh Vardhan last week, aims to reduce the concentration of PM 2.5 (fine, respirable pollution particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 micron) and PM 10 (coarse pollution particles) in 102 non-attainment cities (cities which didn’t meet the annual PM 10 national standard from 2011 to 2015) by 20% to 30% by 2024 over their 2017 annual average levels. NCAP was criticised by environmental experts for not having legally binding air pollution reduction targets. It aims to take a “participatory and collaborative” approach.

Greenstone said the targets could also be achieved by providing incentives or disincentives . “I think it’s terrifically important that the government get deeply engaged in air pollution reduction. NCAP reflects that the public is beginning to demand improvements in air quality. It’s an important step,” Greenstone said, adding that NCAP has very ambitious goals “As is so often the case here too, the devil is in the detail. I assume there will be a lot of hard work in successfully meeting those goals. Money helps focus people’s minds. Empower people to meet targets, give them incentives to deliver it.”

In the US, under the Clean Air Act, if states failed to get their counties to comply with standards, then the money to build highways was withheld. “What’s at stake here is an opportunity for people to live longer,” Greenstone added.

Greenstone who has worked with and tracked the air pollution reduction strategies in China for decades said India’s neighbour has achieved improvements through a “methodical focus.”

“In China, the work on air pollution was set out by the demands from the public. India is the biggest thriving democracy in the world; China has more of a single party rule. It’s been quite surprising to me how responsive the Chinese government has been to air pollution, even though China doesn’t have a history of democracy,” he said. According to Greenstone, China managed an unprecedented reduction in air pollution in a very short time.

“After the US passed the clean air act in 1970, it probably took 12 to 15 years for reduction in pollution in US to be as large as what China has achieved in only four years. The US had two or three vicious recessions in the midst of that but China has been growing. So it’s against backdrop of growth that it is especially interesting,” he said.

In China, officials who didn’t achieve the target in their city or district didn’t get promoted or were punished for not delivering on air pollution targets. Using satellite data, the Air Quality Life Index (AQLI), a tool developed by EPIC for both India and China found that PM 2.5 levels air across China were down by 12% in 2016 compared to 2013 levels.

Greenstone recommends targeting the biggest polluters first through NCAP. “Go to the biggest polluters and fix them.” EPIC has been working with the Gujarat government for several years now on developing an emissions trading system for industries there. Taxes, cap and trade mechanisms could be used under NCAP too he said.

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

Still paying off student loans? Don’t hold out for forgiveness

Everyone with debt from student loans loves the idea of a forgiveness program. College is more expensive than it’s ever been. Thanks to excessively high-interest rates, even graduates who completed their studies would benefit from such a program. The reality, however, isn’t as good as it sounds. Student loan forgiveness programs have strict qualification requirements that most people can’t meet.

If you’ve stopped paying back your student loans because you heard about a forgiveness program, it’s time to reconsider and start making those payments.

Why student loan forgiveness programs are desirable

Student loan forgiveness programs exist to wipe away debt carried by some former students. Forgiveness programs are few and have tough qualifications. Unlike personal debt, it’s not easy to eliminate student loan debt without paying it off.

People want forgiveness programs because standard debt reduction strategies don’t apply to student loans. Consolidation loans, for example, are one of the best ways to eliminate debt and reduce interest rates, but student loan debt can’t be consolidated. There’s also no statute of limitations on student loan debt – it will follow you forever.

Forgiveness programs aren’t working as intended

The idea of forgiving student loans is wonderful, but unfortunately, it’s not working as planned.

The most well-known forgiveness program is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program signed into law in 2007. This program was created to forgive the debts of public servants working for the government and non-profit organizations.

The goal of the PSLF program is to help borrowers with high levels of debt to pursue their careers without debt hanging over their heads. Unfortunately, this program has yet to make good on its promises. As of December 2018, only 206 applicants out of 41,000 have been approved for the PSLF program, which essentially means there’s a 99% rejection rate. The reason? Strict requirements that were rarely, if ever, communicated to borrowers.

To qualify for this program, borrowers must:

• Have a direct federal loan (not indirect)

• Be enrolled in an approved repayment plan (some repayment plans don’t qualify)

• Be employed in a government job or work for a 501(c)(3)

• Have made 120 payments on time (not necessarily consecutive) with one catch

Borrowers who regularly paid more than their required minimum payment may be out of luck due to the way those payments are processed in the system. Making higher payments puts borrowers in paid-ahead status, which pushes out the due date of their next payment, which then disqualifies that payment as an on-time payment in the eyes of PSLF.

In other words, say you have $300 due on January 10, and you pay on time, but you pay $500 instead. You’re put into paid-ahead status, and your next due date might be February 25. Say you pay another $500 on time by February 25. That payment is considered late because the previous payment pushed the due date out. Your next payment will be considered late as well because you’ll be put in paid-ahead status again.

Even though the lender changed your due date, you suffer the consequences. It doesn’t make sense and it’s not fair, but that’s the reality of this program.

With all of this coming to light, it’s clear something isn’t right. The problem is so apparent, according to MarketWatch, the American Federation of Teachers is launching an investigation into how student loan companies and the government may have sabotaged the program.

If you don’t qualify for the PSLF program, there’s one other program you might qualify for if your school closed.

Debt forgiveness for closed schools

In December 2018, the Department of Education (DOE) announced it will cancel $150 million in federal student loan debt. This forgiveness will be applied to some students whose schools closed before they could finish their program. The schools include:

• Charlotte School of Law

• Kaplan University

• DeVry University

• ITT Tech

• Everest College

• Brookstone College

• Brightwood College

Even though tens of thousands of students were affected, not everyone will qualify for this program. It’s unclear how the government will determine qualifications, but if you qualify, you’ll get a letter from the DOE.

If you didn’t attend one of the colleges listed above, and your college didn’t close before you were able to complete your degree, you definitely won’t qualify for this program.

Don’t wait for a forgiveness program

It’s clear that student loan forgiveness programs aren’t easy to qualify for, even when you think you meet the requirements. Don’t wait for a program you qualify for. Start repaying your loans to the best of your ability. Arrange to pay what you can afford and get your loan in good standing. If a better forgiveness program is created under a new administration in the future, being in good standing might help you qualify.

[“source=azbigmedia”]

Moto G6 Plus Android 9 Pie Update Set to Roll Out in India, Will Bring December Security Patch

Moto G6 Plus Android 9 Pie Update Set to Roll Out in India, Will Bring December Security Patch

If the official Android 9 Pie changelog shared by Motorola on its official India website is any indication, the Moto G6 Plus ₹ 16,121 is all set to receive the Android Pie in the country. The new software update will bring all the core Android Pie features as well as the December 2018 Android security patch. It is also expected to include the navigation-based navigation system, which debuted on the Google Pixel models initially. The core features of the Android Pie update includes Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Brightness to enhance the user experience. The Moto G6 ₹ 9,699 Plus was originally launched in India with Android 8.0 Oreo. Aside from the Moto G6 Plus, Motorola recently released the Android Pie update to the Moto X4 ₹ 10,599 and Motorola One Power.

The official Motorola changelog shows that the latest update for the Moto G6 Plus brings all the core features of Android Pie. This means we can expect to see Adaptive Battery, Adaptive Brightness, and a refined Doze mode. The update will also bring a redesigned Settings app with colourful icons. Furthermore, the gesture-based navigation system is expected. The changelog was first spotted by users on Reddit.

Additionally, the Android Pie update for the Moto G6 Plus will come with the December 2018 Android security patch.

Motorola on the support page mentions that the users are recommended to install the latest Android update when the battery is at least 50 percent charged, and the device is connected to a Wi-Fi network. The update is likely to shortly begin rolling out in batches and will be notified through a push notification.

However, you can manually check the availability of the Android Pie update on your Moto G6 Plus by going to Settings > System > System updates.

To recall, the Moto G6 Plus was launched in India back in September with Android 8.0 Oreo. The smartphone debuted globally in April – alongside the Moto G6 and Moto G6 Play.

As we mentioned, the news of the Android Pie update for the Moto G6 Plus comes days after the Motorola One Power received the same update in India. The handset also recently got the December 2018 security patch. The Lenovo-owned company has also reportedly pushed the fresh Android experience to the Moto X4 in select regions.

[“source-ndtv”]