November 13-20 will be the fourth time when ODD-EVEN RULE BACK FOR VEHICLES IN DELHI in the last seven years
The scheme was tried out twice in 2016, and then in 2019.
When odd-even is in force, cars can ply only on alternate days, based on their registration number.
So, cars with numbers ending in an odd digit will be allowed on the street on odd dates [ November 13,14,17,19 ].
The idea is to cut the number of vehicles in half which, the Delhi government hopes, will bring down AQI levels somewhat
GDP AND AIR POLLUTION
Given that GDP growth rates and per capita income levels are generally seen as having a direct trade-off with emissions levels, conventional wisdom tends to dismiss air pollution as an unavoidable by-product of economic growth
And this tends to limit the urgency for formulating a policy response to the problem.
A slew of new research , however, points to exactly the opposite that air pollution has a direct, and a particularly debilitating impact on GDP and per capita income levels,
By way of reduced worker output, lower consumer footfall in consumption-led services, hampered asset productivity, and a surge in health expense and welfare allocation, especially in the productive age groups.
This is particularly worrying for a country like India, where key economics hubs such as Delhi NCR are now prone to a recurrent annual cycle of high pollution with the onset of every winter
THE IMPACT ON ECONOMIC OUTPUT
The Reserve Bank of India’s department of economic and policy research said in its latest report on currency and finance 2022-23 that up to 4.5% of India’s GDP could be at risk by 2030,
Due to lost labour hour from climate change issue, including extreme heat and humidity.
A June 2023 World Bank paper authored by a A Patrick, Rishabh Choudhary, and Dhruv Sharma, pointed to clear evidence that,
The well-documented micro level impacts of air pollution on health productivity, labour supply, and other economically relevant outcomes aggregate to ”macro level effects that can be observed in year-to-year changes in GDP”.
MORE CHALLANGES FOR INDIA
Air pollution is an urgent prerogative in India, as more than 20 of the world’s 30 cities with the worst air pollution are in the country.
Delhi has the poorest air quality among cities globally, with PM 2.5 concentration levels pegged at nearly 10 times the WHO target.
WILL THE ODD-EVEN HELP ?
Odd-even as a way to bring down air pollution has been tried in some form in cities in China, Mexico, and France as well.
several studies have shown a decrease in the level of particulate matter
This reduction, however has only been around 5 to 10%
As for long term solutions, Dr Dey said measures such as phasing out BS-IV vehicles and bringing in more electric vehicles are likely to show results in the coming years.
Measures like odd-even should be implemented in a regional manner and not only in Delhi