Health is wealth, lit­er­ally. How cy­cling can give GDP a boost

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES CITY - @times­group.com

New Delhi: Cy­cling for short dis­tances may not only help re­duce car­bon emis­sions and save fuel, but it could pro­vide an­nual ben­e­fits of up to Rs 1.8 lakh crore to the In­dian econ­omy, roughly equiv­a­lent to 1.6% of the GDP, said a re­port re­leased by The En­ergy and Re­sources In­sti­tute (Teri).

The study ti­tled ‘Ben­e­fits of Cy­cling in In­dia : An Eco­nomic, En­vi­ron­men­tal and So­cial As­sess­ment’ found that cy­cling ap­prox­i­mately 3.5km reg­u­larly for 120 days could help avoid as many as 4,756 pre­ma­ture deaths, while also re­duc­ing 1mil­lion tonnes of CO2 emis­sions and 0.35 mil­lion tonnes of en­ergy (oil equiv­a­lent) each year.

How­ever, for cities to re­alise these ben­e­fits, proper cy­cling in­fra­struc­ture and bike-shar­ing schemes need to be adopted. “Aware­ness cam­paigns need to be con­ducted to high­light the ben­e­fits of cy­cling and by dis­pelling the no­tion that bi­cy­cles are the poor per­son’s mode of trans­port,” the study said.

The anal­y­sis also re­vealed that sub­sti­tu­tion of just half the short dis­tance work trips by cy­cles, which are typ­i­cally un­der­taken by two-wheel­ers and cars, could re­sult in mas­sive fuel sav­ings to the tune of Rs 2,700 crore. The study es­ti­mates that cy­cles can help un­skil-

Safe cy­cling in­fra­struc­ture

Aware­ness cam­paigns Own city-level bike­shar­ing scheme

Lower GST on bi­cy­cles cost­ing less than led mar­ginal work­ers save up to 2.3 crore labour hours — equiv­a­lent to Rs 11,200 crore in terms of travel time sav­ings.

To make cy­cles af­ford­able, the re­port high­lights the need to re­duce GST on cy­cles cost­ing less than Rs 5,000 from the ex­ist­ing 12% to 5%. “It is im- por­tant to make bi­cy­cles more af­ford­able for low-in­come house­holds,” the study stated.

Launched in as­so­ci­a­tion with All In­dia Cy­cle Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, the event was at­tended by Union min­is­ter for com­merce and in­dus­try Suresh Prabhu and MoS (wa­ter re­sources) Ar­jun Megh­wal. Megh­wal said he cy­cled to the event and has made cy­cling a part of his daily rou­tine. “I pre­fer trav­el­ling on a cy­cle. You could call it my first love. This phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity has helped keep me fit and I rarely fall ill now,” he added.

mil­lion tonne

in en­ergy sav­ings (oil equiv­a­lent)

tonne

in CO2 emis­sion re­duc­tion

Cy­cling in The Nether­lands has pre­vented

pre­ma­ture deaths an­nu­ally; to­tal eco­nomic ben­e­fit of

as health sav­ings

6,500

In Barcelona, an in­crease in work trips by cy­cling re­sulted in the av­er­age eco­nomic sav­ings of be­tween 2009 and 2013

4.7 mil­lion eu­ros per year

Ac­cord­ing to a study con­ducted by in Mex­ico, sub­sti­tu­tion of car and taxi trips by a cy­cle shar­ing ini­tia­tive re­sulted in an­nual health ben­e­fits of

$26 mil­lion

Dr Ajay Mathur, Teri di­rec­tor gen­eral, said that safety re­mains a con­cern re­strict­ing the use of cy­cles as a mode of trans­port. “We need to change our men­tal­ity and make cy­cling a vi­able op­tion to stay fit, and, at the same time, not af­fect the planet ad­versely,” he said.

Rs 5,000(an­nual fig­ures)*in per­sonal fuel sav­ings in health ben­e­fits due to re­duced air pol­lu­tionin travel-time sav­ings in health ben­e­fits due to in­creased phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ityper year72.5%19 bil­lion eu­rosC40

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