Written by Talent KAS

Related Topics: Environment, Government Policies & Interventions


  • Union Minister for Environment has announced that India will shift to Bharat Stage Six (BS-VI) vehicular emission norms from BS-IV by April 2020.
  • BS VI petrol/diesel is already available in Delhi/NCR.

What are Bharat Stage (BS) norms?

  • They are standards instituted by the government to regulate emission of air pollutants from motor vehicles.
  • The norms were introduced in 2000.
  • These norms are applicable to all two wheelers, three wheelers, four wheelers and construction equipment vehicles.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board, which is governed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change sets the standard for these emissions
  • With appropriate fuel and technology, they limit the release of air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, particulate matter (PM) and sulphur oxides from vehicles using internal combustion engines.
  • As the stage goes up, the control on emissions become stricter.
  • It means that Bharat Stage VI norms are two stages ahead of the present Bharat Stage IV norms in regulating emissions.
  • These norms are based on similar norms in Europe called Euro 4 and Euro 6.

Why is it important to leapfrog from the existing BS – IV to BS- VI?

  • Upgrading to stricter fuel standards helps tackle air pollution.
  • Global automakers are betting big on India as vehicle penetration is still low here, when compared to developed countries.
  • Cities such as Delhi are already being listed among those with the poorest air quality in the world.
  • The national capital’s recent odd-even car experiment and judicial activism against the registration of big diesel cars shows that governments can no longer afford to relax on this front.
  • With other developing countries such as China having already upgraded to the equivalent of Euro V emission norms a while ago, India has been lagging behind.
  • The experience of countries such as China and Malaysia (which is currently grappling with haze) shows that poor air quality can be bad for business.
  • Thus, leapfrogging to BS VI can put India ahead in the race for investments and is significant for addressing India’s environmental concerns.

How BS IV is different from BS VI?

  • The extent of sulphur content is the major difference between BS IV and BS VI norms.
  • BS-IV fuels contain 50 ppm sulphur, where as BS-VI grade fuel only has 10 ppm sulphur.
  • BS VI can bring Particulate matter (PM) in diesel cars down by 80 per cent.
  • The new norms will bring down nitrogen oxides from diesel cars by 70 per cent and in petrol cars by 25 per cent.
  • BS VI also make on-board diagnostics (OBD) mandatory for all vehicles.
  • OBD device informs the vehicle owner or the repair how efficient the systems in the vehicle are.

Impact on Automakers

  • Compliance with BS-VI norms will require higher investment in technology to upgrade vehicles in stock and making new vehicles.
  • This will also mean fewer launches till the deadline.
  • Those who buy Bharat Stage VI-compliant vehicles will have to pay more since such vehicles will cost automakers more and they will pass on the additional cost to the buyers.
  • The Bharat Stage VI-compliant fuel too will be more expensive.

[Source: Economic Times, The Hindu, PIB]

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