By Aswathy KP.

With cities gradually exiting from COVID-19 restrictions and economic activities resuming, travel in cities has also resumed. However, in view of the contagion risks that public transport (PT) might pose, our travel patterns are undergoing a sea change. The new ‘normal’ in terms of travel is being redefined by factors, such as vehicle ownership, distance to the destination, accessibility to PT, work-from-home policies of organisations, online classes for students, temporary relocation to native places, and government travel guidelines. The present scenario provides an opportunity to leverage these behavioural changes to achieve sustainable transport.

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Early impact on public…

By Dr Indu K Murthy.

The deluge of recent calamities including Cyclone Amphan, floods in Assam, Maharashtra, and Karnataka, and the wildfires in California and Oregon bears testimony to the recurrence of climate crises in rapid succession. In fact, the year 2020 has underscored the uncertainty and unpredictability of such catastrophes. The regularity of such incidents calls for the immediate application of resilience thinking.

What is resilience thinking?

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries define resilience as “​the ability of people or things to recover quickly after something unpleasant, such as shock, injury, etc”. However, resilience in the context of crises such as global warming cannot be restricted to the above definition. Resilience is also about keeping essential things intact and changing those that are redundant. …

By Murali Ramakrishnan Ananthakumar and Thirumalai N C.

Think tanks play a critical role in influencing policy discourses through evidence-based analysis and ideation. Since 2005, the Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) has been working with various governments to address long-term issues in key areas such as energy, climate, and health. CSTEP has developed a wide range of computational tools using inter-disciplinary methods to assist governments in examining and improving the efficacy of policies, especially in the energy sector.

By Dr Indu K Murthy.

Reams of newsprint have been spent on the devastating blow to the job market and economy during the current pandemic. Amid this pall of gloom, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) brought comfort to 55 million households by ensuring livelihoods from April to August 2020. Many of those who got jobs under the scheme were the ones who had reverse migrated from cities due to complete shutdown during the pandemic.

Touted as one of the world’s largest social protection programmes, MGNREGA provides at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members volunteer for unskilled manual work. That aside, the programme aims at rejuvenation of the natural resource base of rural areas to enhance livelihood security. …

By Shravann R S, for CSTEP.

In India, one of the world’s fastest growing economies, most industries still run on fossil fuels. However, the importance of renewable resources for sustainable development is now well-acknowledged, calling for a prompt policy push to make India’s energy sector renewable energy (RE)-driven.

To achieve both developmental aspirations and climate goals, India needs to look at long-term solutions that can help in the deep decarbonising of her energy sector. Numerous opportunities exist for India to make the transition from fossil fuel-based technology to energy-efficient technology.

To study these opportunities, the Swiss Development Agency and Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation set up the India Energy Transformation Platform (IETP) in 2020, with CSTEP as its Secretariat. The Platform identifies innovative, game-changing ideas, and analyses their strategic applications in policy, aiming to inform India’s long-term energy policy — beyond 2030. …

By Hanumanth Raju G V, CSTEP.

This is the 3rd article in the Empower blog series that CSTEP initiated to breakdown the power sector for a non-technical audience. In the first article, we began decoding the journey of electricity and in the second article we explained the costs incurred in generating electricity — the first step of the journey. In this, the 3rd article of the series, the author explains different components of your monthly electricity bill to help consumers make informed decisions.

Every month, a piece of paper listing the charges for the electricity used up for lighting our homes, running appliances, and charging our laptops and phones, arrives at our doorstep. It is the consumer electricity bill. …

By Abishek Nippani, for CSTEP.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that industrial heat forms about two-thirds of the industrial energy demand and about one-fifth of the global energy demand. Being heavily reliant on fossil fuels, the industrial sector currently accounts for about one-fourth of India’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and it is estimated that industrial heat would alone account for a quarter of the global energy-related CO2 emissions by 2040. Such circumstances necessitate the greening of industrial process heat demand by focusing on reduction of fossil fuel usage. Amongst the various interventions possible at this juncture, shifting of fuel usage to biomass in industrial boilers can help bring about substantial benefits in the quest for combatting GHG emissions from industrial heat. …

By Nikhilesh Dharmala & Neel Karnik.

With the world waking up to climate emergency, most countries are looking at controlling emissions, including a reduction in Greenhouse Gases (GHG). Most mitigation measures take the command and control approach that relies on use of standards to achieve a change in emissions. These measures often take the form of environmental standards (such as National Standards for Effluents and Emission), and performance standards (such as Standards & Labeling Programme). …

By Trupti Deshpande & Anantha Lakshmi P.

Every epidemic leaves a distinct mark on our cities. Compact cities — with high-rise, high-density settlements — have been urban planners’ solution of choice to accommodate the constant influx of population. The current contact-spread pandemic, however, has challenged the status quo. Our cities are at a great risk, despite their proclaimed resilience. India’s densely populated cities do not allow proper physical distancing.

The questions we need to ask are: Can the constraint of physical distancing provide an opportunity to redesign our city structures? Can cities afford these changes — economically and spatially? How can we manage urban density to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and similar lurking outbreaks? …

By Bhawna Welturkar,Visual Communication Officer, CSTEP.

To a layperson, the concept of ‘design’ is mostly limited to the visual and functional aspects of a product, with the former often taking precedence over the latter. When talking about the design of a product, we generally refer to how it looks, and sometimes, to how it functions. Naturally then, we understand ‘design thinking’ to be associated with the thinking that goes into the designing of a product. While this is true, it does not bring out the complete meaning of design thinking or its application potential.

What is design thinking and why is it popular?


Center for Study of Science, Technology and Policy

Developing innovative technology options for a sustainable, secure and inclusive society.

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