Implementation of Bharat Stage -6 (BS-VI) Emission Standards in India and Its Schedule
In a bid to curb vehicular pollution, the government decided to implement stricter emission norms of Bharat Stage -6 (BS -VI) from April 1, 2020 by skipping Bharat Stage -V norms altogether. The Road Transport and Highways ministry was of the view the roll out of BS-V norms must start from 2019 but Petroleum Ministry expressed inability to comply with the deadline.
At present, BS-IV auto fuels are being supplied in India from 1st April, 2017 as per the Supreme Court’s directive.
The time required for implementation of each stage was estimated at around three years each. According to the the roadmap put forward by the Auto Fuel Policy, it should take six years to bring in BS-V and BS-VI norms subsequently. The roadmap also takes into account the time taken for phased introduction of fuel complying with the stage norms across India. The decision chops off two years from this plan.
Bharat Stage -V requires auto manufacturers to fit all diesel cars with the diesel particulate filter which can only be effective if the fuel supplied complies with the stage norms. The BS-VI norms further mandate that diesel cars be equipped with selective catalytic reduction technology–a more advanced emission control technology.
Though the fuel quality is not much different in BS-V and BS-VI, the engines have to be compliant to use the fuel. In BS-V, vehicles have to be fitted with a diesel particulate filter, which needs to be optimised for Indian road conditions. In BS-VI, selective catalytic reduction technology has to be optimised.
At each stage, the technology would have to be validated over 6 lakh to 7 lakh kilometres. Given the complexity of the process, these technologies can only be optimised in series and not simultaneously. It is not possible to skip BS-V. Another side to this is that even if the vehicles are made to comply with BS-VI standards, the environmental benefits will be nulled if the grade of fuel doesn’t match.
The argument cited for skipping BS-V is that the difference in BS-V and BS-VI norms isn’t significant. The other factor is that BS-VI norms are more ‘fuel neutral’–which means that there would be no disparity in the emissions from vehicles that run on diesel and petrol, if the fuel quality and the vehicles comply with the standard.