Growing pollution in National capital might affect the Nation’s international image: suggests noted economist Surjit Bhalla

India’s representative to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Surjit Bhalla on Monday said that worsening pollution in the nation’s capital is bad for the country’s image and the problem which has been growing for the past 25 years, needs to be tackled by an overhaul of the agriculture policy.

Speaking to ANI, the economist stated that that worsening air quality could have an adverse impact on the nation’s image abroad.

“Given that most diplomats live in the national capital, steps should have been taken in time to address the issue of pollution,” he said.
He pointed out that that pollution was creating damaging perceptions about the country.
“Damaging in the sense that we are getting attention, we are getting bad attention. There are two types of publicity, the good and the bad. This is definitely bad publicity, “he added.

“There is no point in denying the problem. This is a problem both for the states and the centre. We need to address it on a war footing. Let us not get in to blame calling. This is not created overnight. This is for last 25 years,” he further stated.

Bhalla called for a complete overhaul of the agriculture policy to address the issue urgently.

“I think agricultural policy has a lot to do with where we are. In HLAG report, we are very much in favour of opening up the agricultural sector. Replace the PDS and procurement system. With direct benefit system, the time has come. The PMO is looking at it but it is also state government, the Delhi, Haryana and Punjab governments…Pollution is caused by stubble burning and I am surprised the state governments haven’t cooperated, ” he said.