Supreme Court mulls the idea of Family Planning for Cars – Hum 2 humare 2

Roads in India, especially in the cities, are not able to grow at a rate car sales are growing.

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In terms of growth, FY18-19 has been an average year for most Indian automakers. However, what we shall still acknowledge is that the number of vehicles entering Indian roads every year is increasing significantly. Whereas, number of vehicles which get off the road is still a very small proportion, on a comparative basis. Conditions become worse when we talk about metro and tier-1 cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune and Bengaluru specifically.

Amidst this background, an auto manufacturing company filed a plea at the Supreme Court to lift the cap on number of autos in Delhi. The company was planning to bring in BS VI emission norms compliant autorickshaws. Considering the fact that approximately 3,000 buses are about to join the public transport fleet and services of Delhi Metro have been expanding constantly, the Supreme Court’s bench hasn’t favoured the plea.

Traffic situation in the capital doesn’t look good. It isn’t just limited to long-waiting queues at traffic signals, even finding suitable parking space happens to be a major issue. Many of the multi-level car parks in the city haven’t met with warm acceptance from car-owners. Car-owners still prefer to park their cars in their close proximity and are still not comfortable with the idea of using a multi-level car park and then walking for another 10-minutes to their destination.

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If we were to delve in numbers, Delhi’s Economic Survey report of 2018-19 suggests that total number of vehicles in Delhi is around 1.09 crore (by March 2018), which includes 70 lakh two-wheelers. The same vehicles contribute towards the worsening air-quality as well.

Appalled by the status-quo of the city, and the country as a whole, one of the judges who was present at the hearing stated the following: “Every earning member of a family has a car, but one man having five cars! There should be a family planning of cars. Hum do hamare do.”

This certainly is a concern for a country with an ever-increasing population and a rising middle class. Aspiration levels of the fellow countrymen have gone up, which is a good thing, as it usually leads to improved quality of life. However, the rising level of income disproportionally leads to cases where a single individual purchases 5-6 cars and thus adds considerable pressure on the not-so-robust infrastructure of the country. Hence, the Supreme Court wants to have ‘Family Planning’ done for the number of cars/vehicles a person/household can own, so that the traffic situation can be managed in a better way in future.