KWIT

Julie McCarthy

Conjuring images of a dystopia, the shroud of bad air blanketing New Delhi in recent weeks has intensified global pressure on India to curb its greenhouse gas emissions.

India will arrive at the climate change summit in Paris next week as the third biggest generator of fossil fuel pollution blamed for warming the planet, after China and the U.S.

Half of India's emissions come from burning coal. A visit to the coal-rich northeastern Indian state of Jharkhand reveals how this stands to get even worse.

In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party suffered a convincing defeat in a crucial state election that was seen as a referendum on Modi's leadership.

Results are still being counted in the state of Bihar, but the BJP has conceded to the projected winner, Nitish Kumar, an anti-Modi stalwart and the sitting chief minister, a post akin to a U.S. governor.

The Missionaries of Charity founded by Mother Teresa says it has shut down its adoption services in India over religious objections to the country's new adoption rules. The Catholic sisters known for their blue and white habits and vow of free service to the poor say they have asked the government to de-register 13 orphanages.

The world's third-largest carbon polluter has submitted its long-range plan to curb greenhouse gas admissions in advance of December's Paris climate summit. India does not commit to an absolute reduction in carbon emissions, but does promise to ramp up renewable energy to help slow global warming.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Jawaharlal Nehru towered over 20th century India — a thinker, a statesman, the heir to Mahatma Gandhi. As one of the founding fathers of modern India, Nehru oversaw his country's transition from a British colony to a democracy, and announced the birth in 1947 of a free India.

In the capital, the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library honors the man's legacy. Depending on where you stand, new plans by the government to modernize the museum fall somewhere between an apostasy that dilutes the great struggle for Indian independence and a facelift of a faded but once glorious building.

India has been practicing a form of affirmative action since independence nearly seven decades ago.

The country has quotas that allow "reservations" for government jobs and college slots for members of the most disadvantaged castes.

But a backlash against such caste quotas in the state of Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home turf, provoked riots last week and fears that the upheaval may be just beginning.

Mass protests turned deadly in Gujarat, India, this week. Hundreds of thousands of people, galvanized by a charismatic young member of the Patel community, took to the streets to demand access to public jobs and education.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Rising two stories and capped by three domes, the Jaffna Public Library looks a bit like a stately wedding cake. Gleaming white under the Sri Lanka sun, the building's classical lines and beautiful proportions make it one of the architectural standouts of the South Asia region.

That it survived at all is a testament to resilience. The fact that it was restored to such pristine condition, including its lush gardens, and modernized (it now offers Wi-Fi) makes it all the more remarkable.

The Indian government is seeking $99 million in damages from Swiss food and beverage giant Nestle over a recent food scare involving the Maggi brand of instant noodles that are a household staple in India.

The class action, filed late Tuesday before India's National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, accuses Nestle of "gross negligence, apathy and callousness."

Pages