Critically examine the government's decision to leapfrog from Bharat Stage (BS)-IV into Bharat Stage (BS)-VI fuel norms. (15 Marks)
In an effort to combat severe air pollution in the country, the government decided to shift to Bharat Stage VI norms from current Bharat Stage IV, neglecting the Bharat Stage V. BS-VI norms are scheduled to be implemented pan India in April 2020 and from April 1, 2018 in Delhi. No doubt, Bharat Stage VI (BS VI) has several advantages over the earlier norms but this leapfrogging poses certain challenges for Indian automobile industry and government. Firstly, this sudden change will overhaul the working dynamics of Indian automobile industry and put Indian auto makers to pass test in terms of technical capabilities, experience, skilled manpower and deep pockets. Secondly, the oil and gas refineries in the country need to be upgraded to adopt BS-VI norms which again demands huge investment from government as well as from private sector. Thirdly, to reduce the particulate matter by 82 percent and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) by 68 percent, auto makers need to adopt a combination of technologies- first is the diesel particulate filter (DPF), a device designed to remove diesel particulate matter, or soot, from the exhaust gas of a diesel engine; the second is the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and exhaust gas re-circulation (EGR), which is for NOx reduction. Indian auto makers are not well acquainted to both these technologies and will be dependent on foreign countries for implementation. Fourthly, for the domestic production of new engines and vehicles, industry requires skilled manpower. Overall, sudden shift from Bharat Stage (BS)-IV to Bharat Stage (BS)-VI can be termed as a bold move by government but it also brings several lacunae in its adoption.