All India Radio (AIR) IAS UPSC – Significance of BS VI vehicles for cleaner air

  • IASbaba
  • November 28, 2019
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All India Radio
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Significance of BS VI vehicles for cleaner air


Search 29th Oct, 2019 Public Speak here:

TOPIC: General studies 3

  • Pollution and related technological policies and development 

What are Bharat Stage norms?

The ‘BS’ in BS VI stands for ‘Bharat Stage’ which signifies the emission regulation standards set by Indian regulatory bodies. The ‘VI’ is a roman numeric representation for six (6). The higher the number gets, the stricter the Bharat Stage emission norms get which eventually means it becomes trickier (and costlier) for automakers to meet them.

The Bharat Stage are standards instituted by the government to regulate emission of air pollutants from motor vehicles

  • The norms were introduced in 2000. 
  • 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. Thus 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.

Differences between two stages

The extent of sulphur is the major difference between Bharat Stage IV and Bharat Stage VI norms. 

  • BS-IV fuels contain 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur, the BS-VI grade fuel only has 10 ppm sulphur. 
  • BS VI can bring PM in diesel cars down by 80 per cent and 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 technician how efficient the systems in the vehicle are.

However, when we talk air pollution, particulate matter like PM 2.5 and PM 10 are the most harmful components and the BS VI will bring the cancer causing particulate matter in diesel cars by a phenomenal 80%.

Impact on automakers

Compliance with BS-VI norms will require higher investment in technology to upgrade vehicles in stock and making new vehicles. Takes years for automakers to develop a new kind of an engine or to tweak around with the current ones used in their vehicles – Once the research and development is over, the task of setting up full scale production comes up. All of this comes at a cost which eventually makes the vehicle more expensive for the end customer of the product and that can be a cause of concern for automakers given how price sensitive the Indian market is. This will also mean fewer launches till the deadline.

This will require a huge amount of investments to make the oil refineries capable of producing a better quality of fuel and also investments in the infrastructure to make that fuel available across the country. Then, the automakers will have to make investments on their end too in order to speed up the research and development process and improve their own infrastructure – like the manufacturing plants – to make their offering BS VI compliant.

This, eventually, will make owning an internal combustion engine powered car more expensive to own, and maintain.

Conclusion: The need of the hour is to control the pollution levels by all means possible and since globally, countries are implying Euro 6 levels of emission regulations, India needs to step up its game and hence the BS IV to BS VI emission norm implication.

Connecting the Dots:

  1. What is BS VI and how does it differ from the earlier emission norm? Discuss.

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