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Source: The post is based on the article “Crash test for BNCAP – Enforcement & education are the key” published in Business Standard on 30th August 2023.
Syllabus: GS 2 – Government Policies & Intervention
Relevance: concerns with Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (BNCAP) norms.
News: The introduction of the Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (BNCAP) norms is a step in the right direction for passenger safety in India. However, there are some concerns with the norms.
What are the concerns present with BNCAP norms?
The norms are voluntary, which could allow manufacturers to bypass safety tests.
In the US, Global NCAP norms are mandatory, while they are voluntary in Europe. However, in Europe, customer demand ensures that nearly 80% of cars undergo safety tests before coming in the market.
However, safety has been a low priority for Indian car manufacturers, with only about seven out of over 50 “Made in India” cars tested achieving five-star ratings.
Carmakers in India have often complained about government mandates for basic safety features, arguing that Indian buyers are unwilling to pay more for safety features.
However, the growing middle class is now shifting towards prioritizing safety.
What are the differences between BNCAP and GNCAP?
The BNCAP norms are almost similar to the GNCAP norms in many ways. However, there are some differences between the two.
For example, the BNCAP norms do not award any points for seat-belt reminders and give a three-star rating or higher only for front-seat belts.
This is despite the fact that back-seat belts were made mandatory in 2005 and the transport ministry recently mandated back-seat belt reminders.
Another difference is the price of the tests. The BNCAP is far cheaper than the GNCAP.
This raises the question of whether India-made cars can qualify for the export market if they have undergone BNCAP tests (current export-ready vehicles need to pass GNCAP assessments).
Must Read: The dopiness Bharat NCAP cannot solve
What lies ahead?
The Indian NCAP norms could make domestically produced cars safer, but they are unlikely to significantly reduce road accidents in India.
This is because most road fatalities involve helmet-less two-wheeler riders, passengers, and pedestrians crossing the road.
Therefore, a comprehensive road safety education program and stricter helmet manufacturing norms are needed. Imposing a duty on imported helmets is not the right way to promote self-reliance.