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Answer Key UPSC Prelims 2022 GS 1 - Download

Editorials Simplified

BNCAP and its Significance

[GS Paper 2 – Govt. Policies and Interventions]

Context – The government is planning a new car assessment programme (NCAP) in India, to be called the Bharat NCAP or BNCAP.

About Bharat NCAP?

  • Bharat NCAP is a new car safety assessment programme which proposes a mechanism of awarding ‘Star Ratings’ to automobiles based upon 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. BNCAP will be rolled out from April 1, 2023.

  • It will be applicable on type-approved motor vehicles of category M1 with gross vehicle weight less than 3.5 tonnes, manufactured or imported in 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 BNCAP

  • BNCAP rating will provide consumers an indication of the level of protection offered to occupants by evaluating the vehicle in the areas of:
  1. Adult occupant protection
  2. Child occupant protection
  3. Safety assist technologies

  • It will serve as a consumer-centric platform, allowing customers to opt for safer cars based upon their Star-Ratings.

  • It will also promote a 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 Aatmanirbhar.

Need for 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Comparison with GNCAP

  • 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 BNCAP.

  • The government hopes the move will increase the export-worthiness of Indian automobiles.

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