Should hazy Bei­jing em­u­late pol­luted Delhi?

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - PAGE TWO - Siva Sankar

Ever since I re­lo­cated to China from In­dia in Septem­ber last year, a re­cur­ring theme in my chats with friends and ex-col­leagues back home has been the sim­i­lar­i­ties and dif­fer­ences be­tween the two coun­tries, es­pe­cially be­tween Bei­jing and New Delhi (or Mum­bai).

Usu­ally, I go gaga over Bei­jing’s en­vi­able ameni­ties and ad­vanced in­fra­struc­ture, such as roads, ef­fi­cient pub­lic trans­port sys­tems; hu­mon­gous hy­per­mar­kets, malls and shop­ping cen­ters; the wide range of per­sonal twowheel­ers and com­mer­cial elec­tric three-wheel­ers, and so on. To drive home my point, oc­ca­sion­ally I hurl some facts and fig­ures.

Ar­gu­ments en­sue. As

This Day, That Year

Item­fromDec19,1981,in Chi­naDaily:Aformer­gov­ern­mentem­ployee,who startedanopen-airtea­house in­Bei­jing­to­helpy­oung­peo­ple­wait­ing­for­jobs,has­built up­theen­ter­prise­with­intwo yearsin­toapros­per­ouschain of13­s­tores....

To work as a pub­lic ser­vant in gov­ern­ment sec­tors is still a dream job for young grad­u­ates nowa­days. Nearly 1 mil­lion peo­ple took this year’s Na­tional Civil Ser­vice Exam, or Guokao, on Nov 27, at more than 900 cen­ters na­tion­wide.

The Min­istry of Hu­man de­bates get heated, the other side some­times loses its cool, and la­bels me (in jest, of course) a traitor, or ac­cuses me of be­ing in love with a lo­cal Chi­nese woman and hence switch­ing loy­al­ties.

Un­til three decades back, China and In­dia were con­sid­ered emerg­ing mar­kets, eco­nom­i­cally back­ward and com­pa­ra­ble, and way be­hind the West. Now, the gap be­tween the two coun­tries has widened enor­mously.

In a re­cent on­line chat, when I dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­ity of In­dia catch­ing up, or even over­tak­ing, China, a pro­lific eco­nomic an­a­lyst in Mum­bai, whose ar­ti­cles are pub­lished by the likes of the BBC, asked me, half in jest and half in ad­mon­ish­ment, if I was high on weed.

Yet, there are some as­pects where China and In­dia, and Bei­jing and New Delhi, still re­main com­pa­ra­ble.

Of course, both are cap­i­tal cities. Both are grap­pling Re­sources and So­cial Se­cu­rity said about 984,000 peo­ple sat the five-hour exam while 1.48 mil­lion reg­is­tered for it.

The exam has been held an­nu­ally since 1994, to se­lect em­ploy­ees for the cen­tral gov­ern­ment and its af­fil­i­ated in­sti­tu­tions.

Since there are only about 27,000 po­si­tions avail­able this year, just one out of ev­ery 36 can­di­dates stands to get a job.

The State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Tax­a­tion’s branches na­tion­wide seemed to be the most de­sired em­ployer, with its of­fices in Guang­dong, with the per­sis­tent prob­lem of air pol­lu­tion. Both have been try­ing out var­i­ous reme­dies (re­stric­tions on ve­hi­cle use, and so on).

On Tues­day, two news items sug­gested both cities are mulling fresh mea­sures to com­bat air pol­lu­tion.

I’m afraid my friends back home will likely get a chance now to have a go at me. That’s be­cause New Delhi’s planned at­tempt is at once re­mark­able and in­no­va­tive, whereas Bei­jing ap­pears to be caught in a rut of worn-out ideas.

First, Bei­jing’s way: The city’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau is con­sid­er­ing a ban on the use of trucks that trans­port coal, and may re­quest the near­est port city Tian­jin to close its coal stor­age fa­cil­i­ties.

Now, New Delhi’s way: An ex­tract from a BBC dis­patch per­haps best cap­tures the au­da­cious mea­sure. “Some­time next year … a re­tired jet en­gine will be mounted on a Shan­dong and Sichuan prov­inces at­tract­ing more than 29,000 can­di­dates each.

Gov­ern­ment posts have long been per­ceived by the Chi­nese as se­cure, life­long jobs with sta­ble pay and good ben­e­fits.

How­ever, some po­ten­tial ap­pli­cants have said that the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s anti­graft cam­paign, launched in flatbed trailer and taken to a coal-fired power plant in Delhi … With the ex­haust noz­zle pointed at the sky, the en­gine will be placed near the smoke­stack and turned on … The ex­haust will cre­ate powerful up­drafts that will, to put it sim­ply, blast the emis­sions from the plant to higher al­ti­tudes ... The jet ex­haust will act as a ‘vir­tual chim­ney’, draw­ing in and trans­port­ing the smog … A sin­gle jet en­gine can deal with emis­sions from a 1,000megawatt power plant.”

Whether or not the untested method would prove ef­fec­tive is a moot point. What’s ad­mirable is the lo­cal gov­ern­ment’s re­lent­less pur­suit of out-ofthe-box so­lu­tions, some­thing that Bei­jing could em­u­late, given the cur­rent em­pha­sis on in­no­va­tion and the fact that 63 per­cent of the days in Novem­ber did not have good air.

ful Olympic diver with five gold medals from four con­sec­u­tive Games, and was China’s top mul­ti­O­lympic cham­pion. Wu was named Fe­male Ath­lete of the Year at the Lau­reus China Sport Award on the same day.

Con­tact the writer at siva@chi­ 2013, has put them off.

Last year, a re­port is­sued by the re­cruit­ment web­site zhaopin said more than 10,000 pub­lic sec­tor em­ploy­ees had sub­mit­ted re­sumes to po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers in just two months.

That was 34 per­cent higher than the num­ber who sought jobs dur­ing the same pe­riod in 2014, the re­port said.


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