BS -VI should improve air quality. Challenges & Solutions


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BS -VI should improve air quality. Challenges & Solutions

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The Bharat Stage (BS) is the emission norms instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine, including motor vehicles. As per the roadmap in the auto fuel policy, BS­V and BS-VI norms were to be implemented from April 1, 2022, and April 1, 2024, respectively. But the government in January 2016 decided to implement Bharat Stage VI norms from the 2020 directly from Bharat Stage IV bypassing the stage V norms. 

Pollution in India has recently reached unprecedented proportions forcing the government to take unprecedented steps like road space rationing through odd-even scheme in Delhi. In December 2015, in 15 of the 17 Indian cities where National Air Quality Index (NAQI) stations are situated, pollution level was found above the prescribed limits. A Greenpeace report revealed that pollution level in several metros like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Patna, Agra and Kanpur exceed toxic levels in Beijing and other Chinese cities which became infamous due to high level of smog.

Emission Regulations


In order to find a permanent solution for the rising level of pollution as well as keeping the promises made at Climate-Change conference in Paris, government decided a nationwide rollout of BS VI emission norms. The emission norms were first introduced in India in 1991 but enforced from 1996 when the fuel based on environmental considerations were first notified. However, the BS system was implemented in 1999 after a Supreme Court order. Government introduced BS-I and BS-II norms which were equivalent to Euro-I and Euro-II norms. The BS-II was introduced in National Capital Region (NCR) while in the rest of the metros, BS-I was applicable.

In accordance with the Auto Fuel Policy 2003, the BS-III and BS-IV norms were introduced in 13 metro and rest of the country respectively from April 2005. Subsequently, BS-IV and BS-III fuel quality norms were introduced from April 2010 in 13 major cities and the rest of India respectively.

Exhaust Equations

Vehicle Stock


The foremost challenge exists for the oil marketing and automobile companies in India. For oil marketing companies, improving the fuel quality directly from BS-III and BS-IV to BS-VI would require additional cost of INR400 billion. Also, government didn’t implement the BS-IV norms across the country as oil refining companies were not able to produce the superior fuel in required quantities.

The automobile industry estimates that vehicular up gradation form BS-IV to BS-VI would require the additional investment to the tune of INR500 billion. BS-VI enabled vehicles have to be fitted with DPF (diesel particulate filter), which is a cylindrical object mounted vertically in engine compartment. It would require design and re-engineering work which may increase the length of bonnet and ultimately the length of vehicle. Under the existing norms, vehicles longer than 4 metres attract higher excise duty making vehicles further expensive. Also DPF would be optimised for Indian conditions where vehicle speed is much less than that of Europe.

BS-VI vehicles also have to be equipped with an SCR (selective catalytic reduction) module to reduce oxides of nitrogen, which is done by injecting an aqueous urea solution (AUS 32, which contains ammonia) into the system when the exhaust is moving. Infrastructure needs to be set up across the country for the supply of AUS 32.

Despite the aforesaid challenges, efficacy of BS-VI norms in controlling the pollution cannot be ignored. In the metros where level of pollution is more acute, vehicular exhaust is one of the most important contributors of pollutants. Climate change and global warming is a reality and any step in controlling the release of greenhouse gases is a welcome step. The cost escalation of fuel and vehicles as mentioned above would itself may help in controlling the emission as increased prices would also affect demand.    

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