Bharat Stage or BS emission norms were put into place in the year 2000 and have been upgraded from India 2000 to BSII to BSIII and now BSIV. These emission norms essentially mean that any motor vehicle that is plying on the road has to adhere to a specific emission norm after a decided date is decided by the Government of India and ruling is passed by the Supreme Court of India after approval of the proposal. Here is a breakup on how it affects the end user in 10 points
What the issue is?
Rising pollution levels, particularly in Tier-I cities, raised a huge concern with a number of environmental bodies. This inturn led to the incorporation of the Bharat Stage norms which restrict the pollution created by any motor vehicle. Different vehicle categories like two-wheelers, passenger cars or commercial vehicles have different emission levels. This has helped in reducing the overall pollution levels when compared to a norm not being in place at all.
What has the Supreme Court of India stated?
On 29th March, 2017, the Supreme Court of India passed a judgement where sale or registration of BSIII vehicles would stop from 1st April, 2017. Although a number of car manufacturers were way before the deadline and upgraded their vehicles to BSIV last year itself, two-wheeler manufacturers in the passenger segment have been worst hit. Although, Bajaj was one of the first two-wheeler company to upgrade their entire lineup to BSIV which was officially announced on 15th February, 2017. However, other bike makers waited longer which has put them in a tight spot as of now. A number of two-wheeler dealerships are offering hefty discounts in the tune of Rs 20,000 for a Honda Navi, according to social media reports. In fact, a number of two-wheeler outlets ran out of stock and have shut shop for the day in order to avoid any chaos with potential customers wanting to avail such discounts.
What does this do to current vehicle owners?
The Supreme Court has banned the sale or registration of BSIII vehicles on or after 1st of April, 2017. This rule does not currently state if a BSIII vehicle cannot ply on the road. This means even if there is a vehicle compliant with BSIII emissions norms can be used on public roads without any legal implications. The problem would be more from a moral aspect as a BSIII compliant vehicle would pollute more than BSIV.
What if you buy a new vehicle with the discount on BSIII rated ones?
A number of dealerships are offering discounts on BSIII compliant vehicles in order to clear their existing stock. This does result in a loss at the outlets' end, but it is not major and the dealer would not have to deal with recycling or scrapping of BSIII vehicle. What one needs to ensure is that the sale, loan and other necessary documents offered by the dealership are dated on or before 31st March, 2017 midnight. Any BSIII vehicle that is purchased after this time will not be registered according to the Supreme Court's ruling. So, in case one is planning to buy a BSIII complaint vehicle in the need of an added discount, confirm from the dealership that you would get your registration and other necessary documentation.
What it means for used vehicle owners?
Any used vehicle that will now be purchased will take sometime to be re-registered. Although, the detail by the apex court wasn't clear, but according to the ruling, it is expected that used vehicles not compliant with BSIV emission norms would not be registered. This would result is waste of money for a second-hand vehicle buyer.
Video: Last Day of BSIII sale and registration, fact and queries
What about used vehicle dealerships?
The unorganised sector in the used car market cannot be predicted on this front, however, after a conversation with a Mahindra First Choice dealer, it was confirmed that there is a marginal drop in sales. However, once the clarity on the court ruling is more, sales of vehicles would happen. As most passenger cars upgraded to BSIV last year, a second-hand car buyer need not worry and can pick up one even today itself.
What trends are likely to shape up in future?
There is one aspect that cannot be ignored which is the volume of vehicles growing at a face pace in the country. Migratory population in Tier-I cities is also growing as these locations provide better avenues in terms of employment. This increases the pollution level as, for example, a person moving to Delhi or NCR would need a vehicle to travel. The future would not only see, an even more, stricter BSVI emission norm which is proposed for implementation by April 2020. The Government would also explore more avenues for greener vehicles under the FAME or Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles scheme. It may also see the authoritative bodies looking at a clear cut scrappage policy for old vehicles which helps the consumer, however, the proposal on this aspect is yet to be announced.
The irony of the matter is the vehicles, which can be from any segment, contribute less than 10 percent to the overall pollution index of the country. Other factors which greatly harm the environment such as fuel adulteration and small scale industrial pollution is not being considered to a great extent. Along with adoption of new norms for vehicles, alternate, cleaner fuels have also been adopted which has brought down the pollution levels, but India has a long way to go!