Odd Even Formula

Odd–even rationing is a method of rationing in which access to some resource is restricted to half the population on any given day.  In a common example, private vehicles may be allowed to drive, park, or purchase gasoline on alternating days, according to whether the last digit in their license plate is even or odd. Similarly, during a drought, houses can be restricted from using water outdoors according to the parity of the house number.

On 1st January, due to Delhi’s mounting pollution problem, Delhi rolled out a pollution control policy which adopted the odd-even rationing — a method in which access to some resources is restricted to half the population on any given day. Private vehicles are allowed to run on alternate days, depending on whether their licence plates end in even or odd numbers. The very real implications for Delhi meant that over two million vehicles would be kept off the roads every single day. The method, more commonly known as road space rationing, is followed by various cities from across the world (Beijing adopted the policy ahead of the 2008 Olympics).

Originally a 15 day trial, the policy aimed to reduce traffic emission pollution, as well as reduce on road congestion, increase average car speed, reduce fuel usage, make significant impact on public awareness and in turn, public health.

Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government implemented the odd-even scheme for the first time in Delhi in 2016, 2017 and then in 2019. Every year, post-Diwali, air pollution levels in India’s capital city shoot up to dangerous levels. Apart from air pollution from Diwali crackers, the crop-residue burning in the neighbouring Punjab and Haryana adds to the city’s woes. On November 1, 2019, the Air Quality Index (AQI) level went as high as 700 forcing a Supreme Court-mandated panel to declare a public health emergency in the Delhi-NCR region. It banned construction activity for five days and schools were shut, too.

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