Return to Previous Page

Odd-Even Rule in Delhi: A Promising Solution?*

ET Cases - FLAME, 9 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Vineet Kumar, Kaustab Sen, Laxmi Rajgopal, K R Gowri and Rishika U Ajari, Post Graduate Students and Abhijat Arun Abhyankar, Senior Associate Professor - National Institute of Construction Management and Research, Pune

Case Preview

Odd-Even Rule in Delhi: A Promising Solution?

At five in the morning, the alarm beeped and broke the silence of the dawn. This had been a routine scenario at Bungalow No-6, Flag Staff Road, Civil Lines, New Delhi, the residence of a young energetic man who had taken Delhi politics by storm. Born in an upper middle-class family from Bhiwandi District of Haryana, Sanjay Bhaskar (Sanjay) had always followed a healthy regime. After being elected as the Chief Minister of New Delhi, he could barely manage time during the day to focus on his fitness. Having an intense work pressure and subdued under the burden of a million expectations of the residents of New Delhi who had elected him to power, Sanjay couldn’t give up on his success mantra that he had strictly followed for the past 25 years of his life. So, to make both the ends meet, Sanjay went for his morning exercises from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m before Delhiites started their daily chores and his security not becoming a reason of concern.

On December 4th 2016, Sanjay woke up like any other normal day. However, there was something different that day. Despite not feeling comfortable breathing, he got ready to go out for his jog. It was cold outside and the air was covered in mist. After jogging for half a mile, Sanjay suddenly felt that he was out of breath. He couldn’t inhale properly and started feeling dizzy. His bodyguards, who were walking near him, saw his discomfort and asked him to get onto the patrol car that was moving slowly behind them. Though Sanjay wanted to continue, he couldn’t gather the strength to jog any further and so, got into the patrol car which rushed him back home.......

There’s a Problem

Dr. Sita Ramachandran (Dr. Sita), a senior doctor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) received a call early morning to attend to Sanjay as soon as possible. She reached the Chief Minister’s residence at 7:30 a.m. to check on him. She checked his pulse rate and blood pressure and found that both parameters were slightly abnormal for a man of his age. For precaution, she advised him to get a chest x-ray done. On the way to his office, Sanjay got down at AIIMS, where doctors had already prepared the machine to get his x-ray done. Once it was done, they asked him to leave for office and informed him that Dr. Sita would be analyzing the report and would meet him directly at his office in the evening............

The Real Issue

On December 12th 2016, at sharp 10:00 a.m., the meeting began. The presentation was displayed over the projector and Dr. Sinha was going to address it to the Chief Minister and his close associates. Dr. Sinha started with his presentation, “Delhi, the capital of India, has been the hub of people and activity since ancient times. The city has grown in population and so has its relative pollution. The pollution in the city worsened to such a level that in 2014, New Delhi was ranked as the ‘most polluted city’ in the world among 1600 other cities. Delhi experiences an atypical version of humid subtropical climate where temperature usually ranges from 5oC to 40oC with a mean temperature of approximately 25oC. The average rainfall is about 714 mm, most of which is during the monsoon months of July and August. Estimates say that air pollution in Delhi causes about 10,500 deaths per year. The air pollution of Delhi’s National Capital Region (NCR) is a mix of pollution due to human activities such as vehicle emissions, residential fuel burning, construction and industries and due to natural factors, such as dust and sea salt. During winters, the cold air causes inversions that cause the air to remain stagnant and hence the air pollution becomes trapped close to the ground........................

A Promising Solution

On December 27th 2016, Dr. Sinha and his team were ready to suggest a workable solution that they had reached post root cause analysis for poor air quality condition. For this meeting, Dr. Sinha requested Sanjay to invite the Commissioner of Delhi as well. Sanjay was taken aback by such a request, however, he honoured it, considering Dr. Sinha’s experience and seniority. Sanjay was going through a corporation report when his secretary informed him that all the members for the meeting had arrived and had settled down. Without wasting any time, Sanjay walked straight into the meeting room to find everyone having a low-pitched friendly conversation.............

In 2015, Rome, which also battled smog, had enforced alternate day driving based on odd and even numbers on the license plates. When Bosnia and Herzegovina faced severe air pollution, local authorities warned residents of the city, which lies in a narrow valley with Mount Trebevic towering over its buildings, to stay inside as much as possible. Additionally, volunteers in Sarajevo’s main squares handed out masks to ward against the smog..........................

Assignment Questions

I. It is said that the poor air quality of Delhi is not due to air pollution from the sources in Delhi but from neighbouring states. Do you agree? If so, what should be done in near future to address this issue?


Exhibit I: Air Quality Index (AQI) Colour Bands and Associated Impacts

Exhibit II: Los Angeles Smog (1943)

Exhibit III: The Great Smog of 1952, UK

Exhibit IV: New York Smog (1966)

Exhibit V: Milan Smog (2015)

Exhibit VI: Smog in China (2015)

Teaching Note Preview

Odd-Even Rule in Delhi: A Promising Solution?


From the Neolithic age when early man discovered how to use wheel for transportation, the hunt to develop more advanced form of transportation has been on. This advancement however has always overlooked the impact of vehicular pollution on our environment. Slowly and steadily, the environment has been accommodating the ill-effects of the pollutants being released by the vehicles, but it seems like the saturation point has been reached. This case describes a hypothetical event when the Chief Minister of New Delhi, who is the protagonist of the story, sustains a respiratory illness and realizes the ailing situation of the environment. This case gives a detailed insight of why different places across the globe have been suffering with poor environmental health of late. Mainly, this case discusses the implementation of rationing of vehicles based on their license plate numbering, which is also known as the Odd-Even Rule.

Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding/Before the Classroom Discussion

As the case talks about air pollution from vehicles, the students are required to be aware of the basic concept of vehicular pollution, its components and impact on human health as well as the environment. For the same, they can refer any of the cases of vehicular pollution leading to smog creation that have come up in the last 50 years.

Students can refer the book “Vehicular Pollution in Indian Cities: Measures to Control Emissions”, by Y. Satyanarayana (Bookwell Publications [2007]) for getting a clear picture about deteriorating air quality because of vehicular emissions.......................

Rs 0
Product code: ME-1-0030, ME-1-0030A


Humans have evolved over the years riding on various means of transport. The invention of wheel in the Neolithic age was a path-breaking move although initially, it was restricted to performing small odd jobs only. It is mind boggling to realize that in just one century, humans have developed technology that has replaced horse powered carriages with ultra-sophisticated cars. All these modern means of transport carrying vices of pollution have a great impact on the pollution levels present in the atmosphere. Emission of air pollutants has a tremendous effect on public health and natural environment. This case considers the location of Delhi, India’s capital and focuses on how rationing of vehicles based on their license plate numbers (also known as the Odd-Even Rule) can be used as a measure to reduce vehicular emission.

Pedagogical Objectives

  • To get an overview of the strategies adopted by various advanced countries to counter the effects of air pollution due to vehicular emission
  • To understand the nitty-gritties of Odd-Even Rule
  • To discuss whether the implementation of Odd-Even Rule can lead to reduction in the pollution levels existing in Delhi

Case Positioning and Setting

This case can be used for teaching students at Post Graduate level in the courses listed below:

  • Environmental Management Systems
  • Environmental Law
  • Public Policy
The concepts that can be taught with the help of this case are as follows:
  • Air Pollution
  • Air Quality Index
  • Temperature Inversion

* 4th FLAME International Conference on Research and Teaching Cases, June 21st 2018 & June 22nd 2018

This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)

**Electronic downloadable links (PDFs, PPTs, Supplements etc.) are available immediately after purchase. Please use Indian Currency Option (INR) when you are Making Payment within India. "No. of Copies" reflects the number of permissions you intend to use in Classroom Discussions / Corporate Trainings.

No. of Copies
Rs 0

Related Products

There are no related products to show here at the moment.

Request for an Inspection Copy

(Strictly for Review Purpose, Not to be Used for Classroom Discussion/Trainings)