The Daily Fix

The Daily Fix: It is important Delhi starts early in its preparation to tackle pollution season

Everything you need to know for the day (and a little more).

The Big Story:

As residents in most other cities begin looking forward to the Diwali season enthusiastically, it is a different scenario in the National Capital. The festival, which falls on October 18 this year, has become a marker for the start of the dreaded pollution season in New Delhi.

A study released last week by the University of Chicago paints a grim picture of where pollution levels currently stand in the city. If New Delhi adhered to World Health Organisation standards on the permissible levels of particulate matter in the air, its residents could gain as much as nine years in life expectancy. Last November, PM 2.5 levels rose to almost 1000 mg/metre cube of air, which was 40 times more than the WHO standard of 25mg/metre cube. PM 2.5 levels refer to particulate matters in the air that are less than 2.5 micrometer in size and has the potential to enter the bloodstream and cause an array of diseases.

Over the last two years, the administration has done little but provide knee-jerk reactions when the air turns pungent. Delhi’s pollution problem has its origins both within and outside. Surrounded by large states where farmers complete their harvest just before the winter kicks in, the smoke in the air is increased manifold owing to the habit of crop straw burning. To reduce this problem, what is required is efficient coordination between state governments in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. However, given that the farmers constitute a big and sensitive vote bank, state governments have been reluctant to use coercive methods. There are also experts who believe the crop burning is used as an excuse by the administration and that about 80% of all pollution in Delhi originate within.

For example, cracker burning constitutes an important element in the spike in pollution levels during Diwali. The Delhi government has done little to show that this menace has been tackled firmly. In fact, even the Supreme Court, which is hearing a batch of petitions on the pollution problem, is not convinced with how the government has gone about in taking on the cracker problem. “The government has been content giving “general directions” which is “mere paperwork”. There is zero information about the success or failure of its campaigns, if at all undertaken, against bursting of firecrackers,” the court said this week.

Following court intervention, the Central Pollution Control Board did put together a graded response programme to tackle pollution earlier this year. This included an emergency response plan in case pollution breaches a certain level. Construction would be halted, diesel generators will be shut and vehicular movement would be restricted. But since January 12 when this plan came into effect, Delhi has not adhered to the WHO standards even once even though summer is the better season for pollution in the city. Was this plan put into effect even on a single day after February? If yes, residents have clearly been kept out of the loop as there was hardly any information put out in public.

What is clear from the proceedings in the Supreme Court is that the crucial aspect of coordination between agencies has been given a go by. As the court opined, authorities are functioning like islands as though pollution was no big deal. The state governments should realise that a problem like pollution can only be tackled through sustained efforts and not through stop-gap measures just before winter. Given that pollution robs a citizen of almost nine years of his life, it is a serious challenge to the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. A failure to set right the pollution problem is a serious abdication of constitutional duty.

The Big Scroll

  • Rohini Pande and Anish Suganthan on what needs to be done to take on farm fires in North India. 
  • M Rajshekhar reports on the lessons derived from Delhi’s odd-even car policy. 

Punditry

  1. Karan Thapar in Indian Express writes on the moral bankruptcy of Aung San Suu Kyi in her participation of the violence against Rohingyas. 
  2. Mathew Idiculla in The Hindu argues that subnationalism, as long as it is not secessionist, could be a constructive element in any democracy. 
  3. Biju Dominic in the Mint on the very many problems that smartphones bring to memory. 

Giggles

Don’t miss

In this latest part of Scroll’s ‘Revisiting Demonetisation’ series, Vinita Govindarajan goes back to flower markets in Chennai, where anger against Narendra Modi is still lingering.

“An unexpected fallout of demonetisation was that even the poor in Tamil Nadu had become familiar with the name of the prime minister. Struggling to make a living, and immersed in the Dravidian politics of the state, they ordinarily had little interest in the Central government in distant New Delhi. But after their hard-earned savings in cash had turned to wastepaper overnight, they suddenly woke up to its power. Narendra Modi’s name had become synonymous with demonetisation.”

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Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival

We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.

The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:

Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app

Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.

Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.

Plan your shopping

The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.

Track the deals

There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.

Big discounts and top picks

The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.

Home Appliances

Our top picks for washing machines are Haier 5.8 Kg Fully Automatic Top Loading at 32% off, and Bosch Fully Automatic Front Loading 6 Kg and 7 Kg, both available at 27% discount. Morphy Richards 20 L Microwave Oven will be available at a discount of 38%.

Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.

There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.

Personal Electronics

There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are Lenovo Tab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch.

If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.

Power banks always come in handy. Check out the Lenovo 13000 mAh power bank at 30% off.

Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.

The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.

The Amazon Fire Stick
The Amazon Fire Stick

For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.

The sale will see great discounts of up to 60% off on headphones and speakers from the top brands. The 40% off on Bose QC 25 Headphones is our favourite. Top deals are on Logitech speakers with Logitech Z506 Surround Sound 5.1 multimedia Speakers at 60% off and Logitech X300 Bluetooth Speaker at 58% off!

Other noteworthy deals

Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.

For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.

The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.

Interesting finds

While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!

Small shopping

If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.

Check-out process and payment options

Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.

Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.

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