Hi! This article appeared under my column “Tweakonomics” in the Hindu Business Line today. You may like to see it at http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/columns/at-odds-and-evens/article7966663.ece. Else, read it here directly! Enjoy and do send in your comments!
Dunno if Delhi’s pollution will be controlled. But Delhi’s GDP is definitely set to go up as the Government will only allow even-and-odd numbered cars on alternate days. The multiplier effect will now explode, thereby creating jobs, employment, growth, and more number of cars for the Aam Admi, and a seriously good chance of getting re-elected for the Aam Admi Party. Ms. Sheila Dixit is ruing how she missed this bus, errrr, this passenger car.
Just look at the numbers. There are 260 lakh passenger cars registered in Delhi as of March 2015. In 2014-15, Delhiites added 1.8 lakh cars to their already enviable and unviable kitty. At least 15000 of these must have been bought by those on whom P. Chidambaram wistfully dreamt of levying the super rich tax. At least 3000 of these will now make a beeline to the nearest Audi/ BMW/ Mercedes-Benz showroom, trying to buy a car which hosts that super number so that one can manage to reach the workplace even at odd times. Another 2000 may settle for an odd City or even a Jetta. Car makers are rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect.
Those not having the budgets or the parking spaces to buy a new car need not despair. A new range of services are being offered by roadside repair shops, which will now sell instant plate-change offerings. Due to heavy demand, the price of getting another number plate done has increased from Rs.1000 to Rs.5000. The casts and moulds industry is experiencing heavy demand to fabricate such insta-change car accessories.
Patanjali is thinking of seriously getting into the segment. The idea is that the one should be able to change the Patanjali number-plate in the 2 minutes in which the Patanjali noodles get cooked. Later, wash the hands with Patanjali soap and you are as good as new.
The demand for new cars and accessories will thus act as the ultimate growth driver, pushing Delhi’s growth rate to an unbelievable 20%. And that’s not all. For every new car manufactured, 7 more people get employed. All those poor crooks who used to surreptitiously paint cars and number plates after robberies will now get to legitimize their skilful profiles. Such a surge in employment was not seen in Delhi even during the good old days of the Commonwealth Games.
In all the merriment that ensued in the corridors after such cheerful thoughts, there came a more sobering, practical problem. How in the world will the Delhi Police, who stand steadfast in their duty at the traffic signal, read the number plates of those cars that zip through happily at 95 kmph? Visibility tests startlingly revealed that one can only read the numbers if the car passes at a more sedate pace of 25 kmph. Hence, in addition to the earlier even and odd guideline, the Delhi Government is now in the process of issuing a speed limit guideline as well. The number of cars will be halved and the time taken to office will be doubled.
Schools are thrilled to bits with the new pedagogy with which to make Maths more interesting. They have appealed to the Delhi Government to also have days when only composite or prime numbers will be allowed. One school has raised an RTI against the RTO demanding an explanation as to why number plates cannot be issued in all rational numbers on the number line and why only positive integers have been allowed so far. A case for fractions is also being fought. A divisive number game on irrational traffic integration. It’s the limit!