Bharat Stage VI (BS VI) Emission Norms


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

The Government of India in January 2016 , in a move to fight pollution, declared to  implement Bharat Standard (BS)-VI emission norms by April 1, 2020.

Pollution is a major concern in our country. The Supreme Court has also stated its stand on the issue regularly. Pollution has been a major issue, especially in Delhi. Along with Swacch Bharat (Clean India), government also want a pollution-free India. The government decided that it will move to BS-VI norms across the country directly from BS-IV norms.

BS Emission Norms

The BS — or Bharat Stage — emission standards are norms instituted by the government to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles. India has been following the European (Euro) emission norms, though with a time lag of five years. BS-IV norms are currently applicable in 33 cities in which the required grade of fuel is available; the rest of India still conforms to BS-III standards.

India introduced emission norms first in 1991, and tightened them in 1996, when most vehicle manufacturers had to incorporate technology upgrades like catalytic converters to cut exhaust emissions. Fuel specifications based on environmental considerations were notified first in April 1996 — to be implemented by 2000, and incorporated in BIS 2000 standards. Following the landmark Supreme Court order of April 1999, the Centre notified Bharat Stage-I (BIS 2000) and Bharat Stage-II norms, broadly equivalent to Euro I and Euro II respectively. BS-II was for the NCR and other metros; BS-I for the rest of India.

Importance of 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. At the same time, 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. While BS IV-compliant fuel currently in use has 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur, BS VI stipulates a low 10 ppm. Besides, under BS VI, particulate matter emission for diesel cars and nitrogen oxide levels are expected to be substantially lower than in BS IV.

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. Therefore, leapfrogging to BS VI can put India ahead in the race for investments too.

Industry is Resisting

There are two major industries which now face problems: first is the oil refineries that will need a substantial investment to upgrade. These upgrades will allow the refineries to supply fuel types that can match the BS-V and BS-VI standards.

Second, the automobile manufacturers also need to progress gradually and skipping a step like BS-V might put extra pressure on the manufacturers to produce compliant vehicles. 

The shift of technology from BS-IV to BS-VI is likely to cost anything between Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 80,000 crore to petroleum companies.
 


Thursday, 04th Feb 2016, 10:13:18 AM

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