No BS-III vehicles can be sold after today! But what are BS III and BS IV emission norms?

Today is the last day when dealers will be able to sell off the vehicles stored at their outlets which are BS-III compliant

It was a huge blow to the automobile industry when the Supreme Court on March 29 ordered a ban on the sale and registration of vehicles, which are not BS-IV compliant from April 11. Today thus is the last day when the dealers will be able to sell off the vehicles stored at their outlets which are BS-III compliant.

The new emission norms have been taken claiming that the health of the people is “far, far more important than the commercial interests of the manufacturers”. While announcing its decision, the Supreme Court had on Wednesday stated that the makers of such vehicles had not taken “sufficient proactive steps” despite being aware that firms will only be allowed to manufacture BS-IV compliant vehicles from April 1, 2017.

But do you know what BS-III and BS-IV mean?

The government started the Bharat Stage fuel emission norms to keep a check on the level of air pollution which is caused by ‘combustion engine’ in vehicles. The situation is closely monitored by the Central Pollution Control Board which measures and gives direction on how to keep the pollution levels in check.

The norms suggested by the pollution control board are given to the government which then makes changes to bring more effective measures in place. The norms set by the CPCB were formulated on the basis of the fuel emission standards which are in practice in Europe.

The emission norms were introduced in India in 1991 for petrol and the next year for diesel vehicles. BS-III norms were rolled out in around 2005 and 2006 to check on pollution, similar to the European standards (Euro III) which was in place between 2000 and 2005 in western countries.

From BS-II to BS III to BS IV, the norms of emission have gotten stricter. The Indian government had in 2016 said that it will skip BS V norms and directly jump to implementing the BS VI instead of BS IV rules.

But changing the norm is not as easy in implementation for the automobile makers. It takes years for the automakers to develop a new kind of an engine. The implementation of the change in engine takes further time too. A change of any kind will undoubtedly impact the price of the automobile which will percolate down to the consumers. A high-priced product is unlikely to get a higher number of consumers which in turn is a loss for the manufacturers.

Even though the process of moving into the new set of norms is completed, the stock of the old vehicles remains a cause of concern for the automobile makers. Ending the regime of BS-III, only the BS IV will now be in place for all new vehicles in India starting April 1.

India has some of the most polluted cities in the world and vehicles play a hugely responsible for the increasing levels of pollution. Across the globe, all countries are abiding with the Euro 6 level of emission regulations, and India needs to match up too. The switch from BS III to BS IV thus is inevitable.