India to leap-frog into BS VI vehicular emission norms from April 2020

The union ministry of road transport and highways has notified BS VI emission standards for automobiles manufactured after 2020, in a move that could bring big relief to cities and towns in India where air pollution levels have reached alarming proportions.

The notification released on 16 September, will apply to vehicles, including two and three-wheelers, manufactured on or after 1 April 2020.

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said clean fuel along with better public transport infrastructure will provide big relief from air pollution crisis in India.

CSE noted that it was for the first time that particulate matter standard has been adopted for two and three-wheelers. It will help reduce pollution caused by motorisation, it said, adding that the biggest benefit will be in addressing toxic emission from diesel vehicles.

This is a significant move forward as given the sheer numbers of two-wheelers, their contribution to particulate load in cities tend to be high, it said.

"Emission benefits from this move will be significant. In case of cars, the particulate matter (PM) norm will reduce by 82 per cent and nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 68 per cent.

"PM and NOx emissions from two-wheelers will reduce by 89 per cent and 76 per cent respectively, while from trucks and buses these will drop by 50 per cent and 89 per cent respectively," CSE said.

For India, which has not yet fully implemented BS IV norms for vehicles, skipping BS V to leap-frog into much cleaner emission norms is a game-changing decision. The country has taken lead among developing countries in this step, the green body said.

"This will reduce time lag with Europe to six years in 2020 and lower the pollution impacts of the new vehicle fleet considerably. This is a much needed step to cut the toxic risk in all our cities and towns," CSE executive director Anumita Roychowdhury said.

The country is expected to add more than twice the existing number of vehicles in the next decade.

To ensure strict compliance of BS VI emission norms from April 2020 "at least 50 per cent of vehicle models produced from a particular plant shall be selected randomly from dealers location or warehouse," the ministry said in a notification.

This will be done under a process known as conformity of production (COP), it said.

Notifying Central Motor Vehicles (11th Amendment) Rules, 2016, the government has made provisions that testing agencies start collecting data on real-time emission of on-road vehicles from 2020.

From April 2020, on-road emissions measurements will be carried out with the help of portable emissions monitoring systems, while from 2023 onwards, in-service conformity factor will be applied to ensure that emissions from vehicles remain within the stated margin, CSE said.

"This will help prevent emissions cheating as was done by Volkswagen. This will also ensure that vehicles do not emit more than they are designed to on roads. However, advanced on-board diagnostic system has been delayed until 2023," the green body said.