New Delhi Resident Explains How Odd Even Number System Will Benefit Us
Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about the proposed Odd Even Number System for vehicles being implemented in Delhi, owing to the alarming pollution levels in the Indian capital. People have been criticizing the idea and calling it a pointless effort, instead of even giving the concept a chance. It is true that we need to do something about the pollution in the city, and if such an idea benefits us, there is no reason why we should not give it a shot.
Pratik Kumar, a resident of Delhi who really cares about improving the pollution situation of the city, has explained through a Facebook post how the odd – Odd Even Number System could effectively reduce pollution in New Delhi and make it a better place to live in:
“THE ODDS AND EVENS”
For the past few months, whenever I traveled in an Uber or an Ola and when the conversation with the drivers veered around cabs vs private cars or around pollution, I used to tell them the story of Beijing’s odd & even. And they all liked it – one because something like this would mean more business and two because it made sense to have the lesser fuel guzzling cars. So yes, I always believed in the odd and even concept of reducing pollution and traffic.
Now, there are two aspects to it – 1. Can it be implemented? 2. Does it make sense in the long run?
1. Can it be implemented – We have enough jokes on social media of how an odd-even situation is ridiculous – how the people will use multiple cars, how the traffic police will enforce it. Well, for a start, I will follow it ( I have just one car). My education and my upbringing taught me to follow the law and to keep my home clean. Delhi is my home and I dream every night of seeing stars in the Delhi sky. And if it becomes a law – well I will follow it whether i like it or not. And I want to believe that educated people like me will also do the same. Let’s assume there would be 10% of people with cars who believe in what i believe in – it means 5% less cars. Secondly, of the rest 90%, I think not more than 5% ( or even less) can afford one more car just so that they can travel everyday in their car. These 5% will add another 5% cars (but only 1 car will still be on road) . Now, out of the rest 85%, at least 50% can be forced to follow it if enforced well – Smoking in public places has reduced, people wearing seat belts has increased, 70%-80% of pillion riders wear a helmet. So out of 85% maybe half of the people will follow. Overall, effectively, with help from all authorities, we can reduce 25%-30% cars on road. The additional benefits are lesser traffic which will lead to lesser time wasted in traffic and lesser fuel consumption which indirectly will lead to saving money on an individual level and also helping the economy.
2. Does it make sense in the long run? Beijing’s idea was to clear the air temporarily – and the AAP government should have also looked at it as a short term measure. Also, it should not have waited till 1st Jan but implemented it immediately ( maybe enforced it from 1st January). I will draw a parallel from the start-up world. Let’s assume that there is a funded company and is doing well in terms of growing well , but is burning money. The money will run out in say 3 months. But the the investment scene is not good and they are struggling to raise another round. It is then that the existing investors ( who believe in the story) put in a “bridge round”. The idea of a the bridge round is that the existing investors give some money to the start-up so that 1. the start-up can survive the downturn and when the scene changes, are able to raise a bigger round 2. the start-up can re-look at the economics and bring in inefficiencies through innovation thereby reducing the burn.
In our example this is how I propose it should have been done
1. Implement the rule for a few month – clear the air so that the citizens can actually see the difference in the air and realize what we have been breathing everyday.
2. While the air gets cleaned, have time in hand to look at other reasons which are contributing to the pollution – and then fix those issues
3. Heavily Increase tax on private cars (especially the ones which are guzzlers) with a target to reduce the number of new cars hitting the road
4. Most importantly – build the public transport system ( get Central government to share the swachh cess collection as swachh also means swachh air), give benefits to companies running safe shuttle services or to the ones which provide safe transport for women
5. Figure out areas where only bicycles can be driven – incentivize cycle riders ( there are definitely few innovative ways to bring in incentives)
6. Ban crackers during Diwali in Delhi
In short use the odd – even rule as a bridge round so that a bigger round can be raised in future.
P.S – I am all set for driving on even days so that i can see stars in the Delhi sky. Are you?”
We genuinely believe that Pratik’s views related to Odd Even Number System for Delhi are correct, and that we should do whatever we can, as citizens of New Delhi and of India, to improve the living standards of the city for a better tomorrow.