Electric rickshaws have garnered huge popularity ever since their inception as cheap, accessible and affordable modes of transport. Though a lot of discussion and debate has been taking place regarding the legality and benefits of this recent innovation, research in this segment is still scant.
University of Delhi facilitates innovation projects where the students from different colleges take up potential topics and conduct extensive research upon them under the guidance of a mentor and teachers. One of the projects undertaken this time is by the students of Daulat Ram College on the topic ‘A Comprehensive Analysis of Electric Rickshaws in Comparison to Conventional Fuel Vehicles’.This Project is brought together by Ms. Ritu Khanna, Ms. Shikha Singh and Ms. Raman Arora and 10 students under the mentorship of Mr. V. Packirisamy. The team of students comprises of Harshiel Chahal, Aleena Khan, Arushi Gupta, Aishna Sharma, Gajal Jain, Aswitha Visvesvaran, Astha Goyal, Garima Goel, Talat Khanam and Muskan Gupta.
The main objectives of the project were to study the socio-economic impact and environmental effects of e-rickshaws and to make policy recommendations for future action. A primary survey of 220 passenger electric rickshaws was conducted across Delhi with the comprehensive questionnaire designed to include social and economic profile of drivers and the vehicular profile of e-rickshaws. It has also questioned the regulatory and legal ambiguities in the e-rickshaw industry and suggested key improvements in the urban public transit governance for the same. Based on the findings of the survey and methods of calculating carbon emissions accepted globally, electric rickshaws have been found more environmentally sound than other conventional fuel vehicles.
The most significant contribution of the project has been the quantification of socio-economic impact to e-rickshaws, which had been an ignored area of study till now. The project could make several conclusions encompassing many socio economic indicators like income, working schedule, education, and living standards among others. These results play a pivotal role in putting together an inclusive report to the grass-root realities and make it possible for policy makers to look beyond a veil of fabricated understanding.
The project also facilitated a comprehensive understanding of the on-ground situation of e-rickshaw drivers, which pointed towards several loopholes and administrative failures. Along with a pragmatic study of evolution of the regulatory framework, this helped us make necessary policy recommendations, which account for problems faced by the drivers that is often overlooked in the face of need for rapid development. Thus, it will prove to be an indispensable piece of literature and act as guiding study for future researchers and policy makers .
This project has provided the students a first-hand experience of working with the target group along with the academic curriculum.The team has presented papers at prominent conferences including the International Conference on Corporate Finance, Governance and Sustainability, the National Conference on Social Science and Economics (NCSSE) and the National Conference on Emerging Issues of Climate Change: Sustainability and Economic implications, receiving immense appreciation for the research and innovation undertaken. It will also be presenting a paper at the International Conference titled ‘Socio-Economic Justice after Seventy Years of India’s Independence: Domestic and Global Challenges’ organized by Faculty on Law in November, 2016 and International Conference on “Green Chemistry in Environmental Sustainability & Chemical Education” (ICGC-2016).