Airing differences? reading the political narrative on air quality management in India

Air pollution exposure is a year-round, nation-wide public health crisis in India. This paper presents a careful reading of nearly eleven hours of discussions on air pollution that took place in the upper and lower Houses of Parliament in November 2019. The discussions provide unique insight into the emerging political narrative around air quality governance in India. The parliamentarians constructed an overly peak-oriented and Delhi-centric view of the problem. Contrary to the long-held scepticism of the environment ministry, parliamentarians across political parties cited global evidence on the adverse health impacts of air pollution exposure, especially on children. In addition, they drew on themes like intergenerational responsibility, equity, and Indian cultural heritage while signaling the need to act with urgency.

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