Bumpy road to a green transport plan


The government’s push to adopt higher emission standards and later switch to electric vehicles creates practical challenges, writes Girish Gadgil

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways decided to skip the Bharat Stage V (BS-V) and move directly to compliance with BS-VI norms of fuel from 1 April 2020. This move, although aimed at minimization of air pollution, could be very difficult to implement, given the stringent timelines as also technological and commercial viability.

Girish GadgilSenior general manager, group legal, head of auto sectorMahindra & Mahindra
Girish Gadgil
Senior general manager, group legal, head of auto sector
Mahindra & Mahindra

The transformation will be an uphill task as it involves upgrading the entire manufacturing ecosystem and the jump to BS-VI would require auto companies to engage in large-scale research and development activities. The shift is likely to cost between ₹500 billion (US$7.7 billion) and ₹800 billion for petroleum companies, which is likely to increase the manufacturing costs for the auto sector, leading to increase in car prices anywhere between ₹20,000 and ₹200,000.

The BS norms for fuel were introduced in the year 2000 to control inter alia the emissions from vehicles. The government required compliance with the BS-II norms, by 2005 and BS-III norms by 2010. Further, only BS-IV compliant vehicles were to be manufactured from the dates specified for specific areas, the last of which was 1 April 2017.

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Girish Gadgil is the senior general manager, group legal, head of the auto sector at Mahindra & Mahindra.