India to introduce new car assessment programme soon

India is all set to join the group of matured global automotive markets with its own new car assessment programme (NCAP), likely to be called Bharat NCAP.

According to Abhay Damle, joint secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), the details of Bharat NCAP are expected to be finalised in a week and be made public in the next 10 days.

“Bharat NCAP will be more broad-based than any other NCAP at the time of introduction. It is proposed that the features of the programme will remain same for some time,” A V Mannikar, senior deputy director, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) said during a presentation at the Indian Automobile Safety Conference co-hosted by Institute of Road Traffic Management and Global NCAP.

The proposed speed for offset frontal crash testing vehicles under Bharat NCAP is 56kph.  That is lower than Global NCAP’s proposal of 64kph. The global watchdog’s argument is that crash testing a vehicle at 64kph is equivalent to two vehicles travelling at 55kph and colliding with each other. A mandatory speed warning feature for all vehicles is also proposed under the Bharat NCAP programme.

Balraj Bhanot, former director of ARAI and chairman, CMVR – technical standing committee, MoRTH stated that along with a new framework for safety, there should also be a strong focus on enforcing existing rules to ensure that vehicles are maintained well and that they run safely. He also said there should be a strict system for defining the end of life of a vehicle.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Indian Auto Safety Conference in support of #SaferCarsforIndia in New Delhi on May 16, Union minister for road transport & highways, Nitin Gadkari, said that India will soon have a reworked Motor Vehicle Act.  He pointed out that it is in the final stages and will be tabled in the next session of the parliament.

The minister said that along with advanced safety automotive technologies in India, there should also be a strong focus on containing costs, as affordability levels in India are significantly different from other automotive markets of the west. This could also be a message for players in the automotive industry as they prepare for a new phase in India, in terms of safety as well as emission norms.