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The business wrap: Telecom regulator backs net neutrality, and eight other top stories

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A look at the headlines in the sector:

  1. Access to content should not be restricted, Trai says in its recommendations on net neutrality: Its recommendations come soon after the United States decided to repeal regulations to protect net neutrality.   
  2. Reliance Communications shares tank nearly 4.5% amid reports of China bank filing insolvency case: The telecom group said it had not received any notice regarding a case filed by the China Development Bank under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.   
  3. IAS officer Pradeep Singh Kharola appointed chairperson and managing director of Air India: He will replace Rajiv Bansal who was made the interim chief of the airline in August after Ashwani Lohani was moved to the Railway Board.   
  4. I-T department sends notices to 1.16 lakh people, firms for not filing returns after demonetisation: They have been asked to file their returns within 30 days.   
  5. Sensex, Nifty trade lower as investors await GDP data for September quarter: The Sensex closed 105.85 points down at 33,618.59 while the Nifty50 fell 29.30 points to end at 10,370.25.   
  6. US drug regulator says Glenmark’s Himachal Pradesh unit violates its quality standards: The US Food and Drug Administration had inspected the company’s Baddi unit between November 6 and November 11.   
  7. Bengaluru Police file FIR against Flipkart founders for allegedly cheating businessman of Rs 9.9 crore: The e-commerce retailer said that the allegations were an attempt to ‘harass and pressurise the company’. 
  8. Meredith Corporation, backed by the conservative Koch brothers, to buy Time Inc in $2.8-billion deal: Meredith has said that the Koch brothers’ equity firm will not have any influence over the editorial decisions of the merged media group.   
  9. Income tax department raids 33 locations in Tamil Nadu belonging to business groups: Search operations are under way at 21 premises in Chennai and 12 outside the city. 

A recent study by The Lancet Journal revealed that outdoor pollution was responsible for 6% of the total disease burden in India in 2016. As a thick smog hangs low over Delhi, leaving its residents gasping for air, the pressure is on the government to implement SOS measures to curb the issue as well as introduce long-term measures to improve the air quality of the state. Other major cities like Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata should also acknowledge the gravitas of the situation.

The urgency of the air-pollution crisis in the country’s capital is being reflected on social media as well. A recent tweet by Virat Kohli, Captain of the Indian Cricket Team, urged his fans to do their bit in helping the city fight pollution. Along with the tweet, Kohli shared a video in which he emphasized that curbing pollution is everyone’s responsibility. Apart from advocating collective effort, Virat Kohli’s tweet also urged people to use buses, metros and Ola share to help reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

In the spirit of sharing the responsibility, ride sharing app Ola responded with the following tweet.

To demonstrate its commitment to fight the problem of vehicular pollution and congestion, Ola is launching #ShareWednesdays : For every ​new user who switches to #OlaShare in Delhi, their ride will be free. The offer by Ola that encourages people to share resources serves as an example of mobility solutions that can reduce the damage done by vehicular pollution. This is the fourth leg of Ola’s year-long campaign, #FarakPadtaHai, to raise awareness for congestion and pollution issues and encourage the uptake of shared mobility.

In 2016, WHO disclosed 10 Indian cities that made it on the list of worlds’ most polluted. The situation necessitates us to draw from experiences and best practices around the world to keep a check on air-pollution. For instance, a system of congestion fees which drivers have to pay when entering central urban areas was introduced in Singapore, Oslo and London and has been effective in reducing vehicular-pollution. The concept of “high occupancy vehicle” or car-pool lane, implemented extensively across the US, functions on the principle of moving more people in fewer cars, thereby reducing congestion. The use of public transport to reduce air-pollution is another widely accepted solution resulting in fewer vehicles on the road. Many communities across the world are embracing a culture of sustainable transportation by investing in bike lanes and maintenance of public transport. Even large corporations are doing their bit to reduce vehicular pollution. For instance, as a participant of the Voluntary Traffic Demand Management project in Beijing, Lenovo encourages its employees to adopt green commuting like biking, carpooling or even working from home. 18 companies in Sao Paulo executed a pilot program aimed at reducing congestion by helping people explore options such as staggering their hours, telecommuting or carpooling. After the pilot, drive-alone rates dropped from 45-51% to 27-35%.

It’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that the growth of a country doesn’t compromise the natural environment that sustains it, however, a substantial amount of responsibility also lies on each citizen to lead an environment-friendly lifestyle. Simple lifestyle changes such as being cautious about usage of electricity, using public transport, or choosing locally sourced food can help reduce your carbon footprint, the collective impact of which is great for the environment.

Ola is committed to reducing the impact of vehicular pollution on the environment by enabling and encouraging shared rides and greener mobility. They have also created flat fare zones across Delhi-NCR on Ola Share to make more environment friendly shared rides also more pocket-friendly. To ensure a larger impact, the company also took up initiatives with City Traffic Police departments, colleges, corporate parks and metro rail stations.

Join the fight against air-pollution by using the hashtag #FarakPadtaHai and download Ola to share your next ride.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Ola and not by the Scroll editorial team.

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