• Pollution Under Control (PUC) Certificate

    In India, a valid driving license, insurance coverage and a Pollution Under Control Certificate are legal mandatory requirements for a car. An insurance coverage is mandated by the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, for all cars plying on Indian roads. Similarly, the Central Motor Vehicle Rule, 1989 mandates the PUC Certification.

    What is PUC Certificate?

    The smoke emitted from vehicles, if left unchecked, could pollute the environment to a great extent. PUC is a certification mark that is provided to vehicles that undergo the PUC Test successfully. The certification indicates that the vehicle’s emissions are in alignment with standard pollution norms and are not harmful to the environment. All vehicles on Indian roads are mandated to carry a valid PUC certification.

    Validity and Cost

    • When you purchase a new car, a PUC certificate is provided for it and the validity of this certificate is 1 year. Following that your car would need to undergo the PUC test at regular intervals and a new certificate will be issued each time.
    • The validity of the new certificate is usually 6 months. In case an adverse reading is observed in the PUC test, the validity of the certificate will be decided on the basis of that reading.
    • If cars exhibit higher levels of emission than the prescribed limits, the registration number of the vehicle will be informed to the RTO, Deputy RTO or Assistant RTO by the testing centre within one day.
    • The cost of the PUC test is quite minimal. It varies from Rs. 60 to Rs. 100, based on the vehicle that is being tested and its fuel type.

    PUC Test Procedure

    In the case of diesel vehicles, the accelerator is fully pressed and the readings of pollution levels are observed. This is repeated five times and the average constitutes the final reading.

    For petrol vehicles, the car is kept idling without pressing the accelerator. Only one reading is taken and this constitutes the final reading.

    Test Criteria and Certificate

    All vehicles that are tested for PUC should fall within the following limits.

    Vehicle Type Percentage of CO Hydrocarbon measured in ppm
    2 and 3 wheeled vehicles (2 or 4 stroke) that are manufactured on or before 31st March 2000 4.5 9000
    2 and 3 wheeled vehicles (2 stroke) that are manufactured after 31st March 2000 3.5 6000
    2 and 3 wheeled vehicles (4 stroke) that are manufactured after 31st March 2000 3.5 4500
    4 wheeled vehicles that are manufactured as per the Pre Bharat Stage II Norms 3 1500
    4 wheeled vehicles that are manufactured as per the Pre Bharat Stage II, Stage III or subsequent Norms 0.5 750

    PUC testing can be done at any authorised petrol pumps or independent testing centres. The certificates are also issued at the location of the tests.

    Importance of PUC Certificate

    The PUC certificate contains the following information,

    pollution under control certificate
    • The serial number of the issued certificate
    • The vehicle’s license plate number
    • The date on which the test was conducted
    • The expiry date of the PUC certificate
    • The readings and observations from the test

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    PUC certificate is an important document that you should carry at all times when you are driving the tested vehicle. When requested by a traffic official, if you are unable to furnish this document, you will have to bear the penalties. You should also ensure that it is renewed as soon as it expires to avoid fines.

    If a vehicle does not carry a valid PUC certificate, it is liable for prosecution as per Section 190(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act. The driver will be charged Rs. 1000 if it is a first-time offense, and Rs. 2000 for every subsequent offense.

    In case you are carrying a valid PUC certificate, but your vehicle is visibly polluting the environment, the certificate of your vehicle will be cancelled and you will be required to procure a new certificate within 1 week. If you fail to do so, you will be prosecuted under Section 190(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act.

    PUC Certification and Car Insurance Renewal

    Towards the end of 2017, the Supreme Court gave a nod to the recommendations raised by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) that focussed on battling air pollution in the country. The Supreme Court Bench with Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Madan B Lokur stated that it would be necessary to link the PUC Certificate with the car insurance policy of an individual for insurance renewal to be successful. The bench clearly specified that vehicles which do not conform to these rules will not be allowed to extend insurance coverage through renewal.

    This was a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court, as there have been reports of poor compliance with the PUC certification programme on a national level. It was observed that only 23% of the vehicles in Delhi attended PUC tests.

    Some of the highlights of the Supreme Court directive are as follows:

    1. PUC centres allowed in every fuel station - Although there have been recommendations to reduce the number of PUC centres in Delhi and NCR on grounds of difficulty in supervision of these establishments, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) disagreed to this. MoRTH mentioned to the court that it would be ideal to have PUC centres in every fuel station. The court has agreed to this proposal with a rider, stating that each station should then be empanelled and listed on the MoRTH website. The court has further stated that the government should audit these stations regularly for compliance.
    2. Automatic online network to be set up for linking PUC data centres - The Supreme Court has accepted the recommendation to link PUC data centres automatically and mandate the prepayment of fees for PUC tests. There will also be a strict licensing system that includes the audit of PUC centres. These reforms will make sure that all the relevant tests are done and results are recorded.
    3. Recommendations on PUC norms improvement for pre-BSIV vehicles - There have been recommendations on making the PUC norms more stringent for pre-BSIV vehicles, implementation of driving emission testing for these vehicles, and integration of diagnostic systems. These recommendations have been contested by the Road Transport ministry and will be heard at a later date.

    All in all, the Supreme Court directives will help in improving the compliance towards the PUC testing system. This is regarded as the first step towards fighting air pollution across the nation, and is not limited to the capital.


    1. Which vehicles require PUC Certification?
    2. All motor vehicles plying on Indian roads are required to have a valid PUC Certificate.

    3. Will I have to take a new PUC Certificate when I travel to a different state in India?
    4. No, the PUC Certificate is valid across the entire country.

    5. Who has the authority to conduct a Pollution Under Control test?
    6. The person conducting the PUC test should have a minimum qualification of a degree in motor mechanics or automobile engineering issued by a recognised body. The individual should also know the procedures involved in making minor repairs/adjustments on the vehicle that would bring down the pollution levels. These changes should also not bring about any negative impact on the engine performance.

    7. What are the requirements for undergoing a pollution check?
    8. You will have to take your car to the pollution testing centre and appear in person for the same. There is no other requirement for the pollution check.

    9. When should a car be tested for pollution?
    10. You should conduct the PUC test when you buy a new vehicle. A PUC Certificate is always provided with the new car. This certificate will have a validity of 1 year. Following that you will have to get the vehicle certified again on a periodic basis.

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    News about pollution under control certificate

    • Vehicles driven without PUC certification sees a hike in Hyderabad

      The Hyderabad traffic police has penalised 32% more drivers for causing pollution or not being in possession of a Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificate in 2017. In 2016 the city traffic police had booked 32,935 vehicles for non-conformance. The number rose to 43,375 by the close of the year 2017. Pollution control data reveals that 1,44,435 such cases have been recorded in the last 3 years.

      In the city of Hyderabad, the levels of pollution are well above the standard limits for February 2018. The pollution control board revealed that vehicular pollution is the chief cause for this condition. The number of new vehicles on the roads are constantly on the rise and more than 50% of air pollution can be attributed to smoke from vehicles. Measures such as elimination of sulphur in fuels and leaded petrol has helped in curbing the pollution marginally.

      It is also found that three-wheelers are big contributors to air pollution, as these vehicles use kerosene or adulterated fuel instead of diesel. Autos also tend to ply in the interiors, making it difficult to monitor their emissions.

      5 March 2018

    • Bihar petrol pumps to have PUC testing centres by March 2018

      The Bihar Road Transport Department has decided to set up Pollution Under Control (PUC) testing centres at each and every petrol pump throughout the state. This is being done with the intention of reducing air pollution. The state capital, Patna, holds a place among the top 10 most polluted cities in India.

      The department had sent notices to all district transport officers and magistrates for compliance by the end of March 2018.

      As of 1 January 2018, there are 2,550 petrol pumps across the state that belong to 3 oil marketing companies. The Transport Department Secretary said that the PUC testing centres outside petrol pumps will also continue to operate as before.

      12 February 2018

    • PUC testing in Jalandhar sees a decline post GST implementation

      Residents of the city of Jalandhar do not seem to be very keen on getting their vehicles tested for pollution, particularly after the rates have increased post GST implementation. It is also observed that there is a shortage of Pollution Under Control testing centres in the city, with only 3-4 units that are currently operational.

      Those who are actually getting their vehicles tested have mentioned that the increase in rates have discouraged many vehicle owners in taking the tests. Although the law mandates that all vehicles are tested for pollution on a regular basis, the number of vehicles that are actually undergoing the tests have reduced.

      18 January 2018

    • Motor vehicle department in Kerala to streamline online emission testing centres

      A project by the Motor Vehicle Department in Kozhikode to make the vehicle emission testing process completely online has not been effectively used by testing centres. The facility will link individual testing centres with a centralised system, easing the entire process of PUC Certification. The facility is offered by Keltron and results would be provided online on the basis of predefined standards.

      The owners of testing centres have, however, questioned the efficiency of the system. So the transport department has requested Keltron to conduct more tests that would authenticate the the system’s validity. There are discussions to get the Pollution Control Board into the process as well.

      Once the system has been adopted, the existing centres will only collect samples. Results will be determined by a centralised server that would also issue certificates. The registered owner of the vehicle being tested will receive a One-Time Password (OTP). Using this, he/she can access the certificate on the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) website.

      27 December 2017

    • Vehicle owners in Delhi will get SMS alerts for pollution check

      If your vehicle has not undergone a pollution test recently and you are not in possession of a pollution under control certificate (PUCC), you can get an SMS reminding you to do the needful from the transport department. This facility has been implemented by the state government’s transport department in Delhi.

      Vehicle owners who are due to get their vehicles tested will receive these messages in the form of reminders. The transport department has confirmed that they have already sent out SMS alerts to around 1.5 lakh vehicle owners after collecting their contact details from the existing 1,004 PUC centres around Delhi.

      The messages inform the vehicle owner of the exact date when the vehicle is due for a pollution test. Additionally, it also warns the individual of the repercussions of not doing the test at the earliest. The government plans to send out challans to defaulting customers, imposing a fine.

      30 November 2017

    • Insurers unable to enforce PUC certificates for vehicles

      General insurance companies have stated that they will be unable to verify the pollution under control (PUC) certificate of any vehicle before the renewal of its motor insurance policy. The Supreme Court of India had recently issued a directive for this verification, in an attempt to curb pollution.

      Insurers have said that practical difficulties are preventing them from implementing the required actions. Insurers plan to take this up further with the Supreme Court. Although the order by the Supreme Court was for the Delhi-NCR region, it may be extended to other places in the country. It was found in a study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) that only 23% of vehicles in the capital undergo PUC tests. The government is currently exploring ways to alert vehicle owners at the expiry of their PUC Certificates.

      27 November 2017

    • Graded Response Action Plan to Combat Pollution in Delhi

      The Graded Response Action Plan that is targeted at controlling air pollution in Delhi-NCR has come into force. The plan will operate in the following manner:

      • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will monitor the quality of the air from various stations situated in Delhi-NCR region.
      • Daily reports will be sent to the authority that has implemented the plan, the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA). EPCA will then take a decision on the next steps.
      • If the pollution level of any station shows a sudden spurt, a dedicated team will analyse the situation and take an action accordingly.
      • The CPCB has authorised all state pollution control boards to form teams that will monitor pollution levels across Delhi-NCR and raise flags for violations. Currently, there are 40 teams for the same.
      • The transport department is also checking buses that enter the state for valid pollution under control (PUC) papers. Similarly, other commercial vehicles will also be monitored.
      • Additionally, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee will set up a control room where people can lodge complaints. These grievances will be forwarded to the CPCB that will take further action.

      The neighbouring states have also shown interest in emulating the roadmap followed by Delhi-NCR.

      26 October 2017

    • Insurers awaiting guidelines for linking motor insurance to PUC Certificate

      General insurance providers are waiting for guidelines from either the IRDAI or the government for the implementation of the Supreme Court order to link PUC Certificate to motor insurance at renewal. The Supreme Court had issued the order last week in a bid to contain pollution.

      As per the proposal, the motor insurance of a vehicle cannot be renewed unless the owner furnishes a Pollution Under Control (PUC) Certificate.

      Sanjay Datta, chief of claims and underwriting at ICICI Lombard General Insurance, mentioned that the company is awaiting confirmation on the procedure of linking insurance to PUC Certificate. He also stated that the use of telematics will enable insurers to give cross subsidy to car insurance policyholders, and this was not offered earlier. Datta further mentioned that the company has seen 14% growth in total premium for the April-June quarter.

      22 August 2017

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