Save Delhi | Delhi Bachao – Prakash, An IIM Bangalore Alumnus Shares His Views

Once upon a time there was a king and once when he returned from the tour of his kingdom he found that his feet were dirty due to patchy road and dirt all around the city. He was sad and decided that he should get built a good quality road so that his feet do not get dirty again. He had a wise minister and proposed that instead of spending treasury on road king should wear a good quality long boots which can cover his feet and this would solve the problem!

Today in many parts of the world including India there are kings like that who instead of investing time, effort and resources to improve the quality of environment just either shift to better place or purchase SUV and fit their house with gadgets to improve the quality of personal surrounding.

Today, Delhi the capital city of India has touched the alarming level of pollution and it being the capital is in news but more than 25 cities of the country are in the worst 100 cities of the world in terms of air quality as per the WHO study 2014. Some of the people in the judiciary and in the government have started thinking about the baby steps towards controlling this pollution and one of these is allowing even-odd private vehicles on even-odd days. In my views perhaps it requires many more ideas to save Delhi and some of these are following:

  1. Scrap the idea of allowing only even-odd car numbers as in the absence of sufficient public transport arrangement people would be forced to use the Taxis or Autos and they will run same number of kilometres and hence produce the similar quantity of pollution. This would only help improving the revenue of Taxi or Auto Operators.
  2. Increase public transportation: In case of Delhi increase of significant public transportation can come as a near term solution. As per available public data Delhi has approximately 6,000 Buses for the entire population 1.7 Million and typically it operates approximately 5,000 buses in any given day. This amounts that Delhi is approximately 4,000 buses short to meet the minimum requirement of a city or short by 13,000 buses to run a full fledge bus dependent public transportation system.
  3. Office Timing: Central government has emphasized on bio-metric attendance system and in my view it was important to bring this discipline but it should have flexibility of minimum 8 hour working and all meeting should happening between 10 AM to 4:00 PM. This would allow employees to come to office at 8 AM and leave at 4 PM or some other can do 10 AM till 6 PM. This would lead to significant spread of office goer in the morning and evening.
  4. Sign MoU with state with Green Cover : Delhi government can sign MoU with states like Uttrakhand or Himachal Pradesh which have significant green covers for getting produced energy through the waste. This would send out significant garbage out of Delhi and produce energy which can be fed into the national grid. These green states can easily absorb the CO2 emissions as it plants will consume it in the day time.
  5. VAT restructuring: Delhi Government should be innovative to use VAT to incentivise the type of vehicles. In my view it should have Negative VAT on electric vehicles, Zero VAT on Two Wheelers, Less VAT on Petrol Vehicles and Huge VAT on Diesel Vehicles. The only request I have for electric Vehicle manufactures is to make their vehicle safe from the crashworthiness perspective.
  6. Invest in Slim Cars: Government should invest in R&D for Slim Cars. I have observed that majority of the office goes take a car with them which are meant for 5 people and usually only less than 2 people sit inside it during office hours. For these people bikes are not choice due to safety concerns and car-pooling is not practiced due to logistical issues but solution lies in creating safe and slim cars which will be fuel efficient and can carry two people at a time. Though it is up to Automobile manufactures to develop this car but should government create an innovation funds and give incentive to the first 5 auto manufacturers to come out with safe and fuel efficient cars with incentive of Zero Road Tax and Zero VAT for first 5 Million Cars I guess it will reduce pollution significantly. Imagine if car get slimmer by 50% how much less energy it will consume due to less weight!!!
  7. Water Fountains: Delhi need at least 10,000 water fountains to continuously absorb the dust and pollutant in the air and this water can be treated and all the waste can be made into bricks for the further commercial use.
  8. Shift PSU/Pvt sector Offices out of Delhi: This would help shifting of large number of commuters out of Delhi.
  9. Create Multi-Storied building for government servants: If one looks at the government apartments for various categories of residents in Delhi it is largely confined to 2 floors only and it results in spread of government servant far and wide. This means larger commute time and increased pollution. Can’t it be solved by simple creating 20 storeys beautiful building and thus improving the aesthetic and environment?
  10. Reduce road jams: Identify the top 25 spots where vehicles are standing and thus polluting the environment due to non-movement. Invest in creating alternate passage (flyovers are proven solutions) or another roads or another medium of transportation.
  11. No Factory in Delhi: Delhi should strive to become the 100% service oriented city and no production as it will reduce industrial pollution significantly.
  12. No sale of Diesel in Delhi: This will be strong signal that in Delhi use of diesel is discouraged and user of diesel will slowly move out or reduce.
  13. Charging Stations for Electric Cars : This can be easily done and existing gas station owners should be given first right to create such charging stations if they do not agree then these stations should be operated by government in the beginning and switched to the PPP mode and ultimately be operated by the private enterprises.

These are some of the solutions I would have implemented if I could have taken decisions. Would you agree or would like to add or pass it on to the decision makers?

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Prakash is a Sales & Marketing Professional with engineering experience. He is the Director of EY in India. In past, he has held positions of President – Sales & Marketing: Delton, Asia Pacific Marketing Director in US MNC: Belden & AVP – Pre-Sales & Marketing: GE. Prakash is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and IIT Delhi.

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