The Bharat Stage Emission Standards (BSES) are emission norms instituted by the Indian Government to regulate the emission of air pollutants from motor vehicles. The emission standards under BSES are established by the CPCB (Central pollution Control Board) under the Ministry of Environment & Forests and climate change. The BSES norms were first introduced in 2000. The Bharat Stage IV norms were enforced in the entire country in April 2017. That means that all vehicles manufactured and sold after April 2017 must be compliant with the BS IV standards.
Though the newly introduced norms can help in bringing down the levels of pollution in the country, the cost of vehicles has seen a slight rise due to use of improved technology and hike in fuel prices. Consequently, it will help people save on the health costs due to lesser volume of harmful pollutants in the air. After the implementation of BS IV norms, the vehicle registering authorities have also been prohibited from registering any vehicle that does not meet the current standards.
BS IV Norms:
According to the BS IV norms, only 50 parts per million sulphur content is permitted compared to the 350 parts per million under BS III norms. The volume of nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbon, as well as emission of particulate matter has been significantly lowered under the BS IV standards.
Importance of BS IV Emission Norms:
As per the findings of a European non-profit environmental organisation, India spent about $16.9 billion on coal, gas, and oil subsidies while the health cost of air-pollution linked diseases was about $140.7 billion. These findings are alarming and it is high time India implements strict pollution control norms to reduce the effects of harmful smokes released by vehicles on the environment.
India is one of the greatest markets for vehicle manufacturers around the world. The country has a comparatively lower penetration of vehicles than some of the developed countries. Also, many Indian cities rank among the top when it comes to poor quality of air. Some of the other developing countries have already implemented the Euro V emission standards whereas India is still lagging behind in implementing stricter norms when it comes to air pollution. To catch up with the global emission standards, India is expected to come up with BS V emission standards by April 2020.
Impact on the Citizens:
The National Green Tribunal considers clean air as one of the fundamental rights of citizens. New vehicles that comply with the BS IV standards are equipped with fuel efficient engines that release lesser toxic gases compared to the older vehicles. The government of India is also planning to implement a ‘cash-for-clunkers’ scheme to encourage vehicle owners to switch from older vehicles to fuel efficient BS IV compliant vehicles by giving them considerable subsidies.
Implementation of BS IV standards has certainly increased the input cost for vehicle manufacturers as they now have to use better, fuel efficient technology that minimises the ill effects of air pollutants on the environment. The same cost will be passed down to the vehicle buyers. Concurrently, oil refineries in India are also working on producing superior quality fuel that will again raise the fuel cost in the country. However, considering the negative effects of air pollution on the environment and human health, the increased cost of vehicles and fuel will lead to a long-term saving due to lower health and medical cost.
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