Strategies for Ensuring Clean Air in Rajasthan (with special focus on Jaipur region)

This Briefing Note is being released on the occasion of an Online Stakeholder Meeting on Multi-sector Implementation Strategies for Clean Air in Rajasthan with Special Focus on Jaipur, organised jointly by CSE and RSPCB on December 23, 2020. This note provides the key highlights of the sector-specific assessment done by RSPCB and CSE. 

For the details of the Meeting, please visit: 

For CSE’s latest assessment of winter pollution in Rajasthan, please see

Under the National Clean Air Programme, implementation of comprehensive clean air action plans is underway in five non-attainment cities of Rajasthan including Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Udaipur, and Alwar. The objective is to meet the target of reducing particulate pollution by at least 20-30 per cent from the 2017 level by 2024. The Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB) has prepared the plan and now taken the lead to enhance the implementation strategies for an effective impact. 

In this regard, the RSPCB, in collaboration with CSE, has initiated an assessment of the current challenges, status of baseline action in each sector of pollution, identify the gaps and next steps to inform and enhance more granular strategies. This multi-sector strategy encompasses industry, power plants, vehicles and transportation, waste management and solid fuels in households. The state government has already initiated several measures in all these sectors. But assessment of the progress and emerging challenges in each sector across the region will further help to raise the level of ambition and effectiveness of the strategy. 

As part of this initiative, the RSPCB is among the very few in the country to have taken the lead to adopt a unique approach of mitigating pollution at a regional scale to maximise air quality gains. RSPCB has recognised the importance of aligning action across sectors in a given airshed to minimise the regional influence on local pollution while enhancing the local action. Even though under the NCAP the RSPCB is implementing city-specific clean air action plans in five non-attainment cities, it is additionally creating a framework for regional approach. To pilot this approach, the administrative boundary of the Jaipur division has been prioritised for develop regional scale action plan. Division comprises of different districts, cities, towns and rural hinterland and is a useful framework to test out the multi-jurisdiction regional sale of approach to mitigation. 

As part of this collaborative effort, field investigation has been carried out in targeted hotspots and in cities to understand the ground realities and implementation challenges. This has been contextualised within emerging and changing air quality trends in the region, and changing pattern of public health risk. For each sector baseline action has been identified to chart the next steps. 

Based on this assessment, more sector specific investigation, stakeholder consultation, best practice sharing and capacity building exercise will be carried out to continually improve implementation and compliance. 

On the occasion of the release of the findings of this new study – “Enhanced Strategies for Clean Air Action Plan in Jaipur Division, Rajasthan” -- a stakeholder workshop was organised as part of the RSPCB-CSE collaboration. This gathering had the presence of Ms Veena Gupta (IAS), Chairperson, Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board, Sunita Narain, Director General, Centre for Science and Environment, Ravi Jain, Transport Commissioner, Dr Mukesh Sharma, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Dr Vijai Singhal, Chief Environment Engineer, RSPCB, and Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director, CSE. This gathering had also brought together diverse set of officials from urban local bodies, bus transport corporation, Metro Rail, Industry association, academia from Jodhpur IIT, media representatives among others.  This new report also included additional assessment of industrial and power plant pollution in Jaipur division. CSE experts Parth Kumar, Vinay Trivedi, and Shantanu Gupta shared the findings. 

This summary note captures the key highlights of the sector-specific assessment. 

Air quality assessment 

Informing clean air target for action planning: Even though the NCAP has set a target of 20-30 per cent reduction in particulate pollution from 2017 level by 2024, the actual target reduction needed in cities to meet the clean air standards varies. At this stage, without an appropriate protocol, it is not possible to set a uniform region-wide reduction target. Air quality monitoring is also limited to only a few cities of the region. As per the global good practice, if the current baseline is taken as the three-year average and compared with the national ambient air quality standards for PM2.5, accordingly, Jaipur needs to cut its annual PM2.5 level by 23 per cent, Jodhpur by 54 per cent, Udaipur 16 per cent, Kota 23 per cent, and Alwar by 16 per cent. In addition, Bhiwadi, an industrial cluster requires 64 per cent cut followed by Pali at 34 per cent, and Ajmer by 8 per cent.  

This indicates the scale and speed of action needed to meet the clean air benchmark. In fact, the reduction target for PM10, coarser particles, is expected to be higher. However, PM2.5 monitoring is still limited in the state. 

Long-term trends in pollution in cities of Jaipur division: Available data for PM10, PM2.5 and NO2 for cities of Jaipur division show high but a stabilised trend. The annual average concentration of PM10 has started declining in the key cities of Jaipur, Alwar and Bhiwadi. But it is still exceeding the standard. The highest exceedance is in Bhiwadi followed by Jaipur and Alwar. While in Bhiwadi the levels are exceeding the standards by three times, in Jaipur 1.6 times and Alwar 1.2 times. 

Similarly, the annual level of PM2.5, the tinier particulates, is showing a declining trend in all the three cities but it is exceeding the standard in Bhiwadi by 2.35 times, and in other two it is exceeding the standard. 

The nitrogen dioxide levels on the other hand are stable in all the cities and are within the standard in Jaipur and Alwar but exceeds in Bhiwadi.  

Lockdown and clear blue sky: This has been an extraordinary year due to the COVID19 pandemic. The shutting down of the economy during the lockdown phases had led to dramatic clean up in pollution across all regions. RSPCB has carried out an extensive analysis of the pollution levels during the extraordinary phase of pandemic linked lockdown. This shows significant increase in number of days in the satisfactory and moderate categories - increased by up to 40 to 60 per cent. Highest reduction in the average AQI levels was in Bhiwadi. Except in Alwar, all other stations witnessed a rise in the AQI level during the modified lockdown period—20 April to 03 May 2020— when restrictions were lowered. This assessment has shown how clean the air can get once local pollution in controlled and regional influence is minimised. While this temporary relief came from the shutting down of the economy, this has kindled interest in deeper systemic reforms for lasting change. 

Rising trend during winter:  Predictably, the pollution levels increase every winter due to inversion, colder temperature and slow wind, even though the seasonal difference is not as big as in the larger Indo-Gangetic plain. Despite the dramatic decline in pollution due to the lockdown this summer the levels have increased substantially this winter when the Indo Gangetic Plain was trapped in choking haze of pollution. The 2020 winter pollution in Japipur has seen more number of days in “Poor” AQI category for PM2.5 – in fact the number of days has more than doubled, compared to 2019. In the recent years, the episodes of bad air quality are of longer duration and comparatively more severe. Winter pollution has increased across nearly all cities and towns of Rajasthan. 

Air quality gets more toxic with the onset of winter with ratio of tinier PM2.5 increasing: The share of tinier and finer particles in the overall coarser PM10 concentration determines the toxicity of air. When the overall share of tinier PM2.5 in the overall coarser PM10 is higher, the air is more toxic as the tiny particles penetrate deep inside the lungs and cut through the blood barrier increasing health risk. Interestingly, during lockdown, when the overall suspended coarser particles had settled down reducing the PM10 levels, the PM2.5 had also come down. But its share increased with the onset of winter. Monthly average PM2.5 percentage in Jaipur rose beyond 50 per cent in November and hit a daily high of 70 per cent this year. The ratio is higher in 2020 winter months than in 2019. 

Ozone – an emerging challenge: While the current policy focus is on particulate pollution, the available data shows that ozone is beginning to rise. In several cities of Rajasthan the number of days in a year not meeting the 8 hour ozone standard has begun to increase.  Only in Udaipur all days have met the standards since 2018. In Jaipur the number of days not meeting the standards is the highest. However, the interesting trend is that high NO2 areas in the region are low ozone areas and high ozone areas are low NO2 areas. This is consistent with the known science that ozone dissipates in high NO2 areas through secondary reaction. Ozone is not directly emitted by any source but gets created under the influence of sun and temperature when volatile organic compounds react and NOx is a catalyst. But to control ozone primary gases from combustion sources will have to be controlled. This is a highly reactive gas and has high health risk. This demands strong action on combustion sources to control gaseous emissions. This is also needed to control secondary particulates in the air, which according to the IIT Kanpur study can be 21 per cent of the PM2.5 concentration during winter.   

Growing health risk 

High health cost: According to the newly released Lancet report 2020, economic loss attributable to air pollution as a percentage of state GDP for Rajasthan is 1·70 per cent. Economic loss due to lost output from premature deaths and morbidity attributable to household air pollution as a percentage of state GDP in Rajasthan is 0·79 per cent. Total and per-capita economic loss due to premature deaths attributable to air pollution in Rajasthan is USD 2294 millions. Economic loss due to premature deaths and morbidity as a percentage of state GDP in 2019 for Rajasthan was highest for ambient particulate pollution followed by household air pollution and then ambient ozone pollution. 

Air pollution ranks as the second-largest risk factor for premature deaths in Rajasthan as per the 2016, state-level disease burden estimates (IHME, ICMR and PHFI) Death rate per 100,000 population attributable to air pollution in Rajasthan at 112.5, was the highest in India. It was estimated that if air pollution concentration could be lowered, the life expectancy in Rajasthan could increase by 2.5 years. Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution.  

Baseline action in different sectors

The time-bound, integrated and multi-sectoral action requires adoption of several new generation compliance methods and systems to control real world emissions, and comprehensive design details of mitigation strategies. This also requires capability to assess air quality and pollution sources. RSPCB has taken several steps in this direction.  There is a growing learning curve. 

  1. Expanding air quality monitoring network enables better understanding of air quality:

Air quality monitoring network has expanded in cities of Rajasthan since 2016. While total manual monitoring stations have increased from 30 stations in 2016 to 39 in 2019, the real time monitors have jumped from none in 2016 to 10 in 2020. Expansion of real time monitors has helped to track daily change more efficiently and enabled public dissemination of air quality information based on national air quality index (NAQI).  41per cent of total monitors (manual + realtime) are in Jaipur Division. While the scope of real time monitoring need to be further expanded, RSPCB is also exploring adoption of alternative monitoring methods including satellite data and sensor based monitoring to generate data for the regions without adequate regulatory monitors. Currently, RSPCB is adding 30-40 more stations in the state. Real time data will also enable forecasting of pollution and advance action.    

  1. Understanding pollution sources

RSPCB has taken the lead to collaborate with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, to carry out emissions source inventory and source apportionment studies to assess the relative contribution of pollution sources to pollution load and pollution concentration respectively. The inventory study shows that road dust dominates the pollution inventory with 47 per cent of the particulate load followed by vehicles at 20 per cent, and industry at 19 per cent. But it may be noted that road dust contains maximum traces of highly toxic and cancer causing substances and accumulates toxins from combustion sources. It is also evident that vehicles are the highest contributor to nitrogen oxides at 85 per cent. 

The source apportionment study that assesses the relative contribution of sources to pollution concentration in the air shows that during winter there is huge impact of combustion sources on PM2.5 concentration. Biomass burning dominates at 31 per cent, followed by secondary aerosols at 21 per cent and vehicles at 16 per cent. This indicates that the regional plans now need special strategies to reduce primary gas emissions like Sox and Nox and others to control secondary particulates. This evidence on pollutioj source profile helps to further prioritisie action.  

iii. Controlling action in power plants

The collaborative study of CSE and RSPCB has assessed the current compliance status of coal-based thermal power plant in Rajasthan with the 2015 standards for PM, SO2, NOx, Hg, and Water. It also highlights fly ash utilization status and issues related to continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS). 

This shows that more than two third of the capacity is owned by state sector. Fleet is young with two third of the capacity is less than 10-year-old. Only one-third of Rajasthan’s coal-based capacity is compliant with the PM standards, which is much below the national compliance rate of 56 per cent. Majority of capacity is non-compliant with SO2 standard, and, further, progress is poor in taking SO2 control measures as no plant awarded work till November, 2020. Plant will not meet deadlines if measures further delayed. NOx compliance is better considering recently relaxed norms of 450 mg/Nm3. Compliance with Water and Mercury is average, however, CSE observed better transparency in disclosing water and mercury data in Rajasthan TPPs. Fly ash utilization is good, in fact, Rajasthan should be used as a case study to improve fly ash utilization in other states. 

It is therefore recommended that that the plant wise detailed action plan is crucial for meeting PM, SO2 and NOx standards to ensure compliance before 2022 deadlines. Separate deadlines should be given to meet water norms. CEMS data connectivity need to be addressed and CEMS data should be made publicly available for bringing transparency.  Water audits and CEMS audits are also recommended. A clear phase out plan for older units and a few of them can also trialed for biomass co-firing. 

  1. Controlling emissions from industry

CSE has carried out assessment of industrial air pollution in the key industry clusters in Jaipur along with Alwar and Bhiwadi (as these were one of the most industrialized regions in this airshed). This has assessed the local industry profile, and nature of their pollution to chart a roadmap for more locally appropriate action. Some of the key industrial pollution hotspots identified includes Vishwa Karma Industrial Area (VKIA) in Jaipur, Matsya Industrial Area in Alwar, and Bhiwadi Industrial Area (Phase I to IV) in Bhiwadi. 

Total air polluting industries in Jaipur district are 1261 and the major industries are metal based, stone works, mineral grinding, brick kilns etc. There are overall 48 designated industrial areas and 8 of them are major ones. VKIA is the largest coal and liquid fuel consumer and uses almost 30 percent of the coal used by industries in the district. On the other hand Kotputli is the largest agro residue consumer. VKIA is one of the biggest contributors to the industrial pollution loading in the area and is responsible for 33 per cent of the total industrial loading. Metal and food processing sectors are the largest contributors. 

Alwar has quite a number of furnaces and boilers. Most boilers are below the capacity of 2 TPH. MIA, largest coal consumer, – using up 63 .5 percent of the coal used in the district. MIA and Neemrana together contribute more than 60 per cent to the industrial pollution load of the district. But this area also shows highest use of agro residue as a fuel and Neemrana is largest agro residue consumer. On the other hand, Bhiwadi Industrial Area contributes around 65 per cent to the industrial pollution load of the region. Bhiwadi with a total of 328 air polluting industries with predominance of metal based & chemical/pharmaceutical, has overall 3 major designated industrial areas – Bhiwadi, Chopanki & Khuskhera. Majority boilers are below the capacity of 3 TPH. Bhiwadi Industrial Area is the largest coal, agro and wood consumer. Chopanki Industrial Area is the largest liquid fuel consumer. 

There is a need for pollution hotspot-wise action plan to promote and mandate cleaner fuels. But this will require a clean fuel pricing policy. At the same time, it is important to assess the feasibility of introducing common boilers in place of numerous small boiler clusters that are difficult to monitor. Induction furnaces can be made mandatory, especially in Jaipur and Bhiwadi. 

Combating fugitive emissions has become necessary. Strict adherence to RSPCB mineral grinding and Stone Crusher guidelines especially in Rajgarh and MIA in Alwar is important. Waste Management agencies need to be involved for non-hazardous industrial waste management along with secured dumpsites. Cement concrete roads in industrial areas need to be facilitated to prevent dust generation from heavy vehicle movement. It is important to insist on public display of the consent details to identify legal and illegal industries. 

  1. Controlling on-road emissions from vehicles

Jaipur region has about 30 per cent of the total registered vehicles in the state of Rajasthan. Per-capita vehicle ownership in Jaipur district is also very high i.e. 446 per thousand people compared to the regional average of 243 per thousand. Two-wheelers more than 70 per cent of the total registered vehicles. The second highest share of goods vehicles in Alwar, Sikar, Dausa and Jhunjhunu districts indicates the presence of industrial and freight activity in these areas. 

This assessment has highlighted the pathways to advancement in strategies that are needed for improving on-road emissions monitoring and compliance system as the region has made the transition from Bharat Stage IV emissions standards to BSVI standards this year. 

Currently, the state government is reforming the PUC scheme. It has been linked with the network server since 2017. Under the scheme, a total of 68.12 lakh vehicles till March 2019 have been checked. Challans are being issued for non-compliance. However, the current failure rates are very low – 406 per cent for petrol vehicles and less than 1 per cent for diesel vehicles. The programme will require stronger quality control and quality assurance. 

  • Phasing out old vehicles: As per the NGT order dated 01 January 2014 regarding phase out of 10-yearold diesel and 15-year-old petrol vehicles in Delhi-NCR region, directions have been issued to all the RTOs. Policy states that vehicles older than 15 years are to be deregistered and permitted only after inspection. It is evident that 21.2 lakh vehicles have been deregistered, which is 12 per cent of the total registered vehicles. However, this will require a targeted state level vehicle scrappage policy and scrappage infrastructure for safe disposal and material recovery to make this programme effective. 
  • Clean fuel initiative: As per the order of the transport department dated 10 July 2019, LPG and CNG vehicles get 50 per cent discount during registration. For improvement in air quality the registration of diesel autos/tempos has been restricted whereas LPG and CNG vehicle registration is being promoted. Rajasthan State Gas Limited (RSGL) supplying CNG to vehicles at two stations on Delhi–Jaipur National Highway (NH-8) at Neemrana and Kukas. Two more stations are being set up on NH-8 between Neemrana and Kukas. However, the CNG fuelling network has remained limited. 
  • Electric vehicle programme: State government of Rajasthan is framing a draft electric vehicle policy to fast track the implementation of electric mobility. The state government is proposing 100 per cent exemption to electric vehicles from taxes. Rajasthan State Industrial Policy, 2019 proposes electric vehicle research and manufacturing zone, financial assistance to encourage electric vehicles and their component manufacturing units, and allotment of land for short-term and long-term leases to reduce land cost for entrepreneurs. This will require a robust and time-bound implementation roadmap. Given the fact that Rajasthan has a high level of tourism with large tourist centres, linking electric mobility with eco-tourism will be an important opportunity. But this will require careful planning of the electric vehicle ecosystem including charging infrastructure, electrification of targeted route clusters, fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, and disposal systems, etc. There is a great potential for promoting electric vehicles in Jaipur. The travel pattern in the city is most conducive. Short trip length dominate as more than half of the trips are below 5 km distance. Low powered two-wheelers are 73 per cent of the fleet and average vehicle speed is around 15-18 km/hour. This range can be comfortably achieved in a single charge by almost all existing EV models in the market today. 
  1. Mobility and transportaton strategy 
  • Public transport strategy: It may be noted that Jaipur City Mobility Plan has set the goal of 50 per cent public transport modal share, 35 per cent of non motorized transport share and 100 per cent coverage of footpaths on all roads by 2030. 

However, the decadal comparison of modal share in Jaipur city shows that share of public transport and Intermediate Para Transit  has gone down by 18 per cent whereas private motor vehicle share has increased by 18 per cent. To achieve an optimal modal share, the city needs to increase the public transport and IPT share by almost three times. 

Jaipur has already taken various initiatives such as introduction of city bus service, Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), metro system, and Public Bicycle Sharing (PBS) to improve the overall mobility scenario. To fast forward transition to electric mobility, the state electric vehicle policy is in the pipeline. The Jaipur city is going to procure 100 more electric buses. 

However, a lot more needs to be done. For example, the city has 24 buses per lakh population whereas it needs to achieve a target of 60 buses per lakh population. The aging of buses is further aggravating the situation as in 2018 around 215 buses had to be phased out. Also, the buses get overcrowded during peak hours, face competition with private minibuses and IPT due to poor rationalized routes, and poor operational performance. The IPT system caters to 7 per cent of the travel demand but is completely unorganized. Despite walking being a major mode of movement, only 19 per cent of the city roads have footpaths which are majorly encroached. 

For improving public transport usage, bus fleet needs to be increased, routes have to be rationalized, equipped with Intelligent Transport System (ITS), and carry out multi-modal integration. Public transport will only work efficiently if the last mile connectivity will be provided. For this, the IPT service will have to organized along with providing infrastructure required. The phase out of older vehicles has to be linked with incentives to purchase clean vehicles such as Bharat Stage VI and electric IPT.  The roads need to be redesigned based on the principle of complete street design. 

  • Improve walking and cycling: The modal share Jaipur division shows that more than 50 per cent of the trips are being made by walk and bicycle and end within 5 km. As these trips are within potential walkable/bicyclable distance, therefore improvements of Non-Motorized-Transport (NMT) infrastructure can help in retaining the existing captive NMT users along with attracting the other potential users. 

vii) Need vehicle restraint measures

Insatiable demand for parking has created enormous demand for land that is unsustainable. Unorgansied parking is also aggravating congestion. As much as 62 per cent of the road network in Japipur is vulnerable to legal and illegal parking. The demand for total land for parking in the city is estiamted to be 4 times higher than the walled city area. 

As part of the comprehensive action plan of the Delhi NCR that also applies to Rajasthan part of the NCR, has included parking policy as a demand management and vehicle restraint measure. There needs to be a shift from increasing the parking supply to optimizing the available service and using parking as a vehicle restraint measure. Therefore, a comprehensive parking policy and parking area management plan is required to reduce demand for parking and free up land and roads from parking encroachment by following well defined demand management principles. 

Currently, the region lacks a comprehensive parking management strategy. Almost all the parking supply is provided free of cost despite a high revenue generation opportunity from the land. 

But there is a big opportunity. Rajasthan is the only state where proof of parking is required before getting the vehicle registered- as per the Rajasthan High Court order 2012 but the compliance with the order is poor. It is impotant to implement parking magament area plan across all land uses to identify and earmark on ground the legal larking area, stop illegal parking, introduce variable parking pricing in all legal parking areas, ban parking in green areas and footaths etc. While providing for organised and well regulate dparking ot also has to restrain unlimited supply of free parking.  

Overall, Jaipur has the unique opportunity to build upon its advantage of having a diverse set of public transport systems. It is important to identify the pathways for efficient and more upgraded integration. As Jaipur embarks on expanding and modernizing its public transport systems, additional strategies will be needed to keep services affordable and the systems financially viable. Connecting new urban development with a well integrated public transport system will be crucial to ensure the sprawling metropolitan areas do not fall into the trap of motorization and lose their inherent advantages. 

This dialogue will be taken forward to enable knowledge sharing to build capacity, design advanced strategies and strengthen implementation for cleaner air. 

viii) Ensure circular economy for proper waste management and material recovery to prevent waste burning 

Rajasthan has already taken steps to implement the waste management rules and is also setting up infrastructure to address different streams of waste to prevent waste burning. This will have to be taken forward fo rmore robust managemet staretgies to implement decentralised waste management system including segregation and recycling. Adopt effective landfill management and create roadmap for zero landfill policy. 

Similalry promote decentralized C&D waste segregation and collection and make it obligatory for developers to- carry out on-site recycling and/or disposal at designated sites. Set-up facilities for recycling of C&D waste to promote recycling of construction and demolition waste. At the same time control fugitive emissions from material handling, conveying and screening. Implement provision of Central regulations for construction and demolition waste management rules 2016. Ensure dust pollution control in all construction sites. 

  1. ix) Traget 100% LPG access in households to eliminate solid fuels for coooking

The 2020 Lancel study has shown how premature deaths from household air pollution is responsible for health cost that is equivalent to close to 1 per cent of the state’s GDP in Rajasthan. This will have to be addressed urgently by maximising clean energy access and enableing 100 per cent coverage of household with reliable LPG conenction. At the same time eliminate use of solid fuels from open eateries and resturaunts and link this with their commercial license.  

This collaborative initiative of RSPCB-CSE will be taken forward for more deep dive support to multi-sector action for clean air in all regions of Rajasthan. This will provide the model template for regional airshed level interventions that can provide a learning curve to other states of India.

For more information: Sukanya Nair of The CSE Media Resource Centre,, 8816818864