The air quality levels have worsened in the national capital region for the fourth consecutive day and the alarming situation could prompt the return of the odd-even car scheme. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was recently quoted by new agency ANI as saying, "If the need arises, we will soon implement the odd-even scheme in the capital." Delhi's air pollution levels have been on the rise ever since Diwali last month and the recent temperature drop has only worsened the condition further. The odd-even car scheme, much like last time, will aim to reduce the vehicle footprint on roads in a bid to curb air pollution.
The odd-even scheme was first introduced in Delhi in 2016 between January 1-15 and April 15-30. The odd-even scheme had vehicles with registration plates ending with odd and even numbers operate on alternate days. When first implemented, the odd and even numbered cars would operate between 8 am and 8 pm, except on Sundays. Those who violated the rule were fined ₹ 2000. To facilitate better transportation, the government arranged extra buses, bike taxi service and increased metro frequency during the odd-even scheme.
During the first round, the odd-even scheme was only limited to cars, with two-wheelers exempted from the same. In addition, vehicles belonging to VIPs, politicians, Supreme Court judges, defence vehicles, single women drivers and drivers with children below the age of 12 were exempted from the rule.
The odd-even scheme is a part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), as measures to combat air pollution. On December 23, 2019, the Air Quality Index (AQI) recorded the second highest pollution level this year with an AQI of 450, which is considered "severe," a level below "hazardous."