The government today termed as "malicious" and "incorrect" a recent report which said that pollution levels in India were so high that they could shorten one's life span by a couple of years.
"The report is malicious and incorrect, especially coming as it does on the eve of the Prime Minister's visit to the US," Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters on the sidelines of an interactive session with industrialists here without naming the report.
"The report has been extrapolated and not based on exact data or ground study," he said, adding, both the print and television media were highlighting the "negative" report to put down the Narendra Modi government.
"The Central Pollution Control Board is issuing a detailed response to the accusation made regarding the high levels of pollution in the country," he said.
"Yes, there is pollution, including in many cities in Europe and the US as well. Targeting India in this fashion is incorrect," he said, adding that the government would respond appropriately.
A study conducted by IITM scientists in collaboration with the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Colorado titled 'Premature Mortalities due to PM 2.5 (finer particulate matter) and Ozone Exposure in India', found that life expectancy in Delhi has reduced by six years because of air pollution while Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra are likely to account for the highest number of premature deaths.
Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
Earlier addressing a session organised by the local chapter of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Javadekar said there is a need to build up public opinion to usher in bold tax reforms.
"GST will be passed in this monsoon session and rolled out next year," Javadekar said.
Taking a dig at the Tamil Nadu government's "populist measures", he said in a democracy retaining public confidence was important.
"There is no dichotomy of interest between welfare and growth. We at the Centre though will not take to populist measures as in Tamil Nadu, but take a participatory approach," he said.
On the ease of doing business, Javadekar said it was ease of doing responsible business with due emphasis on compliance.
"While making compliance easier, we will make violation costly," he said.
"For violating norms, I plan to bring a New Civil Penalties Bill," he said, adding that the penalty that could be slapped for violation ranges from Rs 10,000 to Rs 10 crore, depending on the gravity of the offence.