Policy Brief 2020-21: BS-VI Leapfrog what more to do

India implemented Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) emissions standards nationwide on 1 April 2020 amidst the raging novel coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) and economic slowdown. It leapfrogged directly from BS-IV emissions standards that were introduced nationwide in 2017 and selectively in a few cities in 2010. This leapfrog promises to reduce emissions from the new vehicles fleet by at least 60–90 per cent, depending on the pollutant and vehicle segment. This has catapulted India into a much cleaner technology paradigm. Health benefits from this move are expected to be significant and much higher than the actual costs of the makeover. According to an assessment by the US-based International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), this leapfrog to BS-VI and fuel and emissions standards roadmap will help to avoid 280,000 cumulative avoidable deaths by 2030. While the actual cost of the makeover will be US $10 billion, the health benefit will amount to US $90 billion—nine times higher.