Why in the News?

The government has planned a new car assessment programme (NCAP) in India, to be called the Bharat NCAP or B NCAP.

What is Bharat NCAP?

  • Bharat NCAP is a new car safety assessment programme which proposes a mechanism of awarding ‘Star Ratings’ to automobiles based on their performance in crash tests.
  • BNCAP standard is aligned with global benchmarks and it is beyond minimum regulatory requirements.
  • The proposed Bharat NCAP assessment will allocate Star Ratings from 1 to 5 stars.
  • The testing of vehicles for this programme will be carried out at testing agencies, with the necessary infrastructure.

Implementation of BNCAP:

  • BNCAP will be rolled out from April 1, 2023.
  • It will be applicable on type-approved motor vehicles of category M1 with a gross vehicle weight of fewer than 3.5 tonnes, manufactured or imported into the country.
  • M1 category motor vehicles are used for the carriage of passengers, comprising eight seats, in addition to the driver's seat.

Significance of Bharat NCAP:

  • BNCAP rating will provide consumers with an indication of the level of protection offered to occupants by evaluating the vehicle in the areas of:
  • Adult occupant protection
  • Child occupant protection
  • Safety assist technologies
  • It will serve as a consumer-centric platform, allowing customers to opt for safer cars based on their Star-Ratings.
  • It will also promote healthy competition among original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in India to manufacture safer vehicles.
  • It will ensure structural and passenger safety in cars, along with increasing the export-worthiness of Indian automobiles.
  • It will prove to be a critical instrument in making our automobile industry Atma Nirbhar.

Why does India need to crash-test vehicles?

  • Indian vehicles have historically not been crash-tested in the country.
  • Despite being home to only 1% of the world’s vehicles, India shoulders 11% of the global road crash fatality burden.

What about existing testing standards?

  • India’s Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR) mandate a safety and performance assessment, including a basic conformity crash test by agencies like the ARAI and ICAT when vehicles go in for type approvals.
  • However, this does not involve a crash test rating.
  • Many international automakers have been found to sell products in India which score much lower on safety and structural performance parameters.
  • This is done to reduce costs in the price-sensitive Indian market.
  • However, safety is moving up the list of key purchase criteria in India as well.

How will a homegrown NCAP help?

  • Global NCAP (GNCAP) crash tests for many best-selling Indian vehicles have dismal ratings, many of them rated zero in a bias.
  • The government hopes that by facilitating these tests by in-house agencies, more automakers will voluntarily undergo safety assessments and build vehicles that hold up to global standards.

The way forward:

  • The government wants the two tests to be in congruence with each other.
  • It intends to design the BNCAP to resemble the GNCAP, the global gold standard, as closely as possible, including the speed for crash testing at 64kmph.
  • Central Motor Vehicle rules encompass standards with respect to pedestrian protection and seat belt reminders among others and will be retained in the testing under the B NCAP.
  • The government hopes the move will increase the export-worthiness of Indian automobiles.