Last Updated: 25 January 2020
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This document has been designed to help our regulatory compliance customers navigate India’s regulations. RegNet Focus includes coverage of India’s emissions, and vehicle safety regulations.
In India, the rules and regulations related to the construction & maintenance of motor vehicles, driver's licenses, registration of motor vehicles, and traffic control are governed by the Motor Vehicles Act (MVA), 1988 and the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR), 1989. The CMVR provide the rules that explain MVA in detail.
The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) is responsible for the formulation and implementation of various provisions of the MVA and CMVR. In order to involve all stakeholders in regulation formulation, MoRTH has three committees which advise the ministry on issues relating to safety and emission regulations, namely – CMVR- Technical Standing Committee (CMVR-TSC), Standing Committee on Implementation of Emission Legislation (SCOE), Automotive Industry Standards Committee (AISC). These committees advise MoRTH on the various technical aspects related to CMVR.
The Indian Standards for Automotive Industry are prepared by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) which develops standards across industries. The standards formulated by AISC are transformed into Indian Standards by BIS. The standards formulated by both BIS and AISC are considered by CMVR-TSC for implementation.
Under Rule 126 of the CMVR, various test agencies are established to test and certify the vehicles based on the safety standards and emission norms prescribed by the Ministry. The testing agencies are – the Automotive Research Association of India, Pune (ARAI); Vehicle Research & Development Establishment, Ahmednagar; Central Farm Machinery Testing and Training Institute, Budni; Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun; Central Institute of Road Transport, Pune; and International Centre for Automotive Technology, Manesar.
The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) which comes under the Ministry of Telecommunications is responsible for the sale of spectrum in India. Telecommunications Engineering Center (TEC), a part of DoT, is the designated subject-matter expert group that is authorized to prepare and publish the standards and regulations for the EMC aspects of wired telecom equipment, in cooperation with Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). All aspects of EMC enforcement are directed by TEC, performing market surveillance and reviewing renewal applications to ensure compliance.
Both central and state governments have powers to legislate on transport. The MVA, 1988, a central legislation, permits state governments to make rules in relation to the grant of permits and registration of vehicles, but state rules must be in agreement with the broad framework created by the act.
Role of Central/Union government – (i) creation of framework for regulation of motor vehicles, (ii) creation of categories of registrations and permits for vehicles, (iii) usage of motor vehicles for international travel, (iv) framework for insurance requirements for motor vehicles, (V) creation of tribunals to address to claims under the act, and (Vi) definition and structuring of offences under the act
Role of State government – (i) implementation and enforcement of laws created by central government, (ii) control of road transport within the state, (iii) grant of registrations and permits created by the central government, (iv) creation and implementation of license and permit conditions, including fares, (v) creation of framework for licenses to be granted to transport businesses, and (vi) taxation of motor vehicles.
What are the different types of regulatory documents in India and what are their functions?
The Motor Vehicles Act is an Act of the Parliament of India which regulates all aspects of road transport vehicles. The Act provides in detail the legislative provisions regarding licensing of drivers/conductors, registration of motor vehicles, control of motor vehicles through permits, special provisions relating to state transport undertakings, traffic regulation, insurance, liability, offences and penalties, etc. For exercising the legislative provisions of the Act, the Government of India made the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989.
Type Approval procedure for vehicles is as follows:
· After the components of the vehicle are verified, the fitting of components in the vehicle is to be tested. This includes the fitting of components like the car audio system, electronic sub-assemblies etc.
· After the fitting of components in the vehicle is tested and approval is granted for it, the systems in the vehicle are next. Vehicle systems such as braking, exhaust emission engine cooling system, fuel supply system, suspension and steering systems are to be tested for proper working. If they pass the criteria of the tests conducted, an approval is granted.
· The final test to be conducted before approval is granted to the vehicle for being sold and marketed is the Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA) test. It is also known as the ‘Vehicle Certification Test’.
For each item, the Indian authority chosen by the manufacturer will issue a system approval according to each applicable Central Motor Vehicles Rules. Those approvals are based on test reports prepared by an officially recognized testing organization. Once all approvals are collected, the testing organization issues the report for the approval as a basis for the homologation certificate. This certificate is recognized in all countries as mentioned in test report.
The Indian Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (amended in 2019) and the rules, that regulate operation of vehicles in India, do not currently allow fully automated systems. A human driver must always be in effective control of the vehicle. The laws don’t permit testing of Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) in India.
Currently, M, N, and O category vehicles in India follow Bharat Stage (BS)-IV norms, which are equivalent to Euro IV norms. In 2016 the Indian government announced that the country would skip the BS-V norms altogether and adopt BS-VI norms by 2020. In line with this, the Supreme Court of India in October 2018 had ruled that no BS IV vehicle shall be sold across the country with effect from April 1, 2020. Now BS-VI emission norm would come into force from April 1, 2020 across the country.
The vehicular emission standards are set by Indian government. To bring them into force, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) sets timelines and standards which must be followed by automakers.
The BS norms have been styled to suit Indian conditions. The difference with Euro norms is essentially related to specific environmental and geographical needs, even though the emission standards are the same. For example, Euro III is tested at sub-zero temperatures in European countries. In India, where the average annual temperature ranges between 24 and 28 °C, the test is done away with.
At present, two and three-wheeled vehicles in India follow BS IV norms. However, from April 2020 only BS VI compliance 2 and 3 wheelers will be sold in India. The BS VI specifies mass emission standards, type approval requirements, and on-board diagnostic (OBD) system and durability levels for each vehicle category. The BS VI standards largely align emission limits for two-wheeled vehicles with the most stringent standards adopted for similar vehicle types in Europe and ensure that these vehicles will generally be no more polluting than BS VI four-wheeled passenger vehicles.
Electric Vehicle market in India is at a nascent stage. India has set a target of achieving 30 per cent penetration of EVs by 2030 (not a mandatory target). To achieve this target, the Indian government had launched Faster Adoption & Manufacture of Electric Vehicles (FAME) –II scheme with an outlay of US$ 1.4 billion in subsidies to electric vehicle manufacturers and for establishing the necessary infrastructure. In order to take advantage of the incentive under this scheme, vehicle manufacturers have to ensure the use of at least 40% local content/materials based on the ex-factory price of the vehicle in case of buses and 50% for all other categories of vehicles (electric two wheelers, electric three-wheelers, electric four-wheelers and e-rickshaws).
The government has also reduced the tax (GST) on electric vehicles from 12% to 5%. It is also providing an income tax deduction of US$ 2,100 to consumers on the interest paid on loan taken to buy EVs; with this an EV user can enjoy a total benefit of around US$ 3,500 over the loan period.
In addition to the incentives, various Indian state governments have set their own targets for the penetration of EVs and they are also providing incentives for adoption of EVs to the users.