A rider with new BSVI vehicle.

Bharat Stage VI

With another unique step forward, India switched to Bharat Stage VI emission norms, commonly known as BS-VI/BS6 from April 1, 2020.  The last shift that India had taken was three years back when it shifted to BS-IV from BS-III in 2017. By sidestepping Bharat Stage (BS)-V, which no other country has done till now, India has strongly indicated its stand, towards combating air pollution and, for a cleaner and the healthier environment under the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The Government of India aligned its standards (with European Regulations) to regulate the output pollutants from motor vehicles in 2000. Since then the subsequent norms brought out have been severe.   It is the Central Pollution Control Board constituted in September 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 that sets standards of emission. It works under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Changes. The Bharat Stage Emission Standards is the governing body.

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In comparison with BS-IV, the newer BS-VI has a very strict maximum permissible standard to exhaust pollutants. Below is a comparison:   

Fuel TypePollutant GasesBS-VIBS-IV
Petrol Passenger VehicleNitrogen oxide (NOx) limit60 mg80 mg
Particulate Matter (PM) limit4.5 mg/km
Diesel Passenger VehicleNitrogen oxide limit80250
Particulate Matter (PM) limit4.5 mg/km25mg
HC + NOx170 mg/km300mg

The BS6 emission norms is said to benefit in the following ways:

  • Reduction in 80% of the sulphur amount (to 10 ppm from 50 ppm).
  • BS-VI fuel will cut nitrogen oxide by 70% in diesel cars and by 25% in petrol engines.
  • PM emission reduced to 0.005 gm/km.

The technology shift will help improve Air Quality Indexs. While it also means a hike in the purchasing price in the market.



The first time emission norms were implemented by the Government of India was back in 2000. Similar to the world standard of Euro I, the BS-I was implemented in the entire nation.

For the second shift to happen in the whole nationwide it took five years and the third changes were seen in 2010. BS II, BS III and BS IV (2017) were not directly implemented in the whole nation as we witness it in BS-VI. They were run in some cities before nationwide implementation.  This delay between BS III to BS-IV transition is also accounted for the fast-tracking of BS-VI instead of BS V.  

Color Identification of BS-VI

The BS-VI emission norms integrated vehicles will also carry a unique identification in the form of a 1 cm wide green strip on top of the existing third registration sticker. This would be in force from October 1, 2020. I addition, a color-coding for the fuel type will also be a visible – light blue color sticker for Petrol/CNG and orange color sticker for diesel-run vehicles. The identification would be marked on the third number plate fitted on the inside of the windshield.

At this very difficult time, when the whole of the world’s economy is going through a hard-hitting crisis in the form of the COVID19 pandemic, taking this revolutionary step is commendable.  Our automobile sector was also going through loses for the last 12 months and more (example -reports of 1st quarterly loss in 15 years of Auto major Maruti Suzuki) and yet we accepted this challenge. The industry had put around Rs 70000 crore investments, and counting, in upgrading the required facilities and products so as to smoothly and timely make the shift in the market.

Complementing the emission norms and fuel type together is a step forward towards a healthier environment. BSVI is no doubt the cleanest fuel till date yet it will also reach its saturation potential in the coming times. What waits in the future is are we looking to stick to modification in norms o emission of the technology or are we going to bring an innovatory change in modes of transport itself. The answer of course lies in the future, but for now, it’s worth applauding for the current step that has been integrated.

Article Written by Nimai Ranjan Bibhar

Image Source: Sandeep Bidyadhar

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