The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Tushant Juneja, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
With the trial period of the odd-even policy in the capital coming to an end, critics, naysayers and pundits alike have come out with their own interpretations of the success of this regulation based policy. As per the article in Business Standard (17/01/16), the one thing everyone will agree to, is that contrary to expectations, the policy was implemented without too many problems. And it was an unusual sight – as many people on the ground reported – citizens doing their best to follow a new and burdensome regulation. There were minor setbacks, in terms of some offenders and minor controversies, but one has to applaud the Central Government and the citizens for doing their best to uphold this regulation.
In terms of measurable success, i.e., raising awareness of the problem of air pollution, and creating a certain amount of civic solidarity with regard to that problem – the experiment can already be declared something of a success. It served to decongest the roads, which in itself was a significant gain. However, air quality in a city, especially one like Delhi in winter, depends on a number of factors and no major improvement was seen because of the elimination of vehicular pollution.
While it is too early to completely assess the in-depth effects of the fall in air pollution levels, one major flaw that was revealed because of the odd-even experiment, are the gaps in Delhi’s public transport system that were exposed to high demands during this period.
Going forward, the government needs to build on the awareness created by this experiment and find new ways to pull in all the stakeholders to build a less congested and pollution free future for the capital. In the face of this adversity, only collective action can help solve the problems of the citizens.