Nitin Gadkari launches Bharat NCAP: India becomes the fifth country in the world to have its homegrown crash testing program

Nitin Gadkari launches Bharat NCAP: India becomes the fifth country in the world to have its homegrown crash testing program


On Tuesday (22nd August), the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari launched the much-awaited Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (Bharat NCAP or BNCAP). It is India’s first homegrown crash testing program also known as the vehicle safety rating system launched with the aim to improve safety features in vehicles and develop a ‘safety-sensitive car market’ in India. 

With the launch of BNCAP, India has become only the fifth country in the world to have its dedicated car crash safety program. The other four countries include the United States, China, Japan, and South Korea.

The new safety assessment program is for passenger vehicles that can carry up to eight people and weigh less than 3.5 tonnes. Apart from petrol and diesel vehicles, Bharat NCAP could also offer tests and safety ratings for CNG and hybrid cars. It will be implemented from the 1st of October, this year. 

Hailing the program, Gadkari expressed concerns stating that the country is facing two challenges namely, road accidents and air pollution. He stressed that every year around five lakh accidents take place in India and 1.5 lakh deaths because of these accidents.

The Union Minister said that the Bharat NCAP mechanism has been prepared in a systematic way taking into account the views of all stakeholders. The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had approved the draft for such a programme way back in June last year. 

Gadkari said, “This is the time when we have the highest priority for how we can save lives of the people, and road safety is the most important thing for that. Road engineering is a big problem somewhere; out total process of making detailed project reports is a completely wrong methodology. We are trying our level best to educate our engineers about the types of mistakes we are repeating in road engineering.”

Taking to the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Gadkari wrote, “BNCAP as a revolutionary step that will drive India towards safety.” He shared a video explaining the steps taken so far by his ministry to reduce the number of fatalities in road accidents. The video also gives in-depth details of the newly launched BNCAP programme and how it will work.

What is BNCAP and how it will create a safety-sensitive car ecosystem in India

As per the BNCAP mechanism, car manufacturers can voluntarily offer their vehicles for testing as per the Automotive Industry Standard (AIS) 197. The vehicle will be awarded star ratings on a scale of 0-5 with a five-star rating being the highest safety standard. The star ratings will be based on the performance of the car in these crash safety tests. 

After a manufacturer voluntarily submits a vehicle for safety test under Bharat NCAP, the vehicle will have to undergo a series of tests. This includes a frontal crash test which will be conducted at a speed of 64 kmph and side and pole-side tests which will be done at 50 kmph and 29 kmph respectively. 

The ratings will be given based on two main criteria namely adult safety for front passengers and child safety for rear occupants. In the Bharat NCAP safety rating system, a vehicle will have to score a minimum of 27 out of 32 possible points to get a five-star rating for adult safety. Similarly, a score of 41 out of 49 points will be needed to get five stars for child safety. 

Additionally, the vehicles can earn extra points by including features like ISOFIX anchorages, which are crucial for enhancing child restraint systems. These crash safety tests will help assess to what extent a car may suffer damage in case it is struck in an accident. They will help educate consumers to make informed choices before purchasing a new car.

According to data, in 2021, 1.54 lakh people reportedly lost their lives and 3.84 were injured in road accidents. In 2020, 1.31 lakh people died and 3.49 lakh were injured. In view of the same, the Bharat NCAP will result in a reduction in the surging numbers of fatalities and injuries owing to road mishaps.

Further, BNCAP will make India self-reliant in the sense that currently several cars in India are crash-tested by Global NCAP, which was developed by the USA.

According to Ministry’s official statement, with high safety standards, Indian cars will be able to compete better in the global market and it will increase their export worthiness.

Meanwhile, the automobile sector has responded positively to this development. As per news agency PTI, auto manufacturing giants like Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra, and Toyota wholeheartedly embraced the introduction of Bharat NCAP. They lauded this as a bold step in the right direction for the domestic industry.


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