Big Step by India – Implementation of BS-VI norms

As per a study conducted by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) – there is a 26 % increase in deaths due to vehicular pollution in India. 

Out of total number of deaths, 66 % were attributed to diesel vehicles

There were 74,000 transportation-attributed deaths in India alone in 2015. 

The Government of India has made it compulsory for vehicle manufacturers to sell and register only BS-VI (BS6) vehicles from April 1, 2020.

Vehicular pollution deaths
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What is BS ?

BS = “Bharat Stage”, it represents the emission regulation standards set by India. The standards are set by the central government to keep a check on the pollution levels by combustion engines.

The primary BS-I was first implemented in 2000, following which BS-II and BS-III were implemented in 2001 and 2005 respectively. BS-IV was introduced in 2010 in certain cities while they were implemented across the nation in April 2017.

The higher the number gets, the stricter the Bharat Stage Emission norms get.

The BS norms are similar to European emissions norms ( Euro 4 and Euro 6 ). These norms are followed by vehicle producers worldwide providing a good reference point as to how much does a vehicle pollutes.  

Standards of BS – VI :

  • Only 10 ppm (parts per million) sulphur content compared 50 ppm sulphur content in BS-IV
  • Emission on NOx (nitrogen oxides) can be reduced to 70 % in diesel cars and 25 % in petrol cars
  • 82 % reduction in cancer-causing particulate matter (PM 2.5 and PM 10) in diesel cars
BS6 versus BS4 emission standards
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How is this a leapfrog strategy?

India is skipping BS-V standards, not only because of this but because of other reasons as mentioned :

  • The difference between petrol and diesel emissions are finally going to reduce significantly 
  • Particle number from the tailpipe will be counted to make sure that effective emission control devices or particulate traps that are adopted – eliminating 95% of particles 
  • As per the International Council on Clean Transport (ICCT), it will help to reduce 280,000 cumulative deaths by 2030.

Challenges to be faced: 

  • Indian Automobile Industry is in the middle of an economic slowdown
  • It was implemented in the middle of nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 although a relaxation of 10 days is given by the Supreme Court of India which is unlikely to do any good to the automobile industry
  • The cost of ownership has increased due to new safety norms and higher insurance costs and it is expected to further increase by 12-15 %, resulting in a decrease in vehicle sales.
  • There is also a huge stock of vehicles which do not match the BS-VI emission standards and there is a high risk of losses (Currently, the two-wheeler industry is left with BS-IV inventory worth Rs 4,600 crore, while dealers are left with an approximate inventory of 8.35 lakh units, according to CARE Ratings.)
  • Requirement of cleaner fuel that complies with stricter emission regulations

My Opinion :

The implementation of BS-VI norms is undoubtedly going to reduce emissions and prevent many deaths that take place due to vehicular pollution. Skipping BS-V emission standards was a very big step. But, if India wants to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement within the time limit i.e. before 2030. India has to shift to Electric Vehicles (EVs) as soon as possible. Investments in building infrastructure and batteries having good efficiency for EVs need to be increased in order to give a boost to EVs market.

Remember the clock is ticking very fast and very little time is left until it is too late.


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Yash loves to read and write on issues such as climate change, renewable energy, SDGs, and other related issues. He wants to make people aware of climate change and encourage them to follow a sustainable lifestyle.

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