Understanding Bharat NCAP: India's Groundbreaking Car Safety Rating Initiative

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Understanding Bharat NCAP: India's Groundbreaking Car Safety Rating Initiative
24 Aug 2023
6 min read

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India's automotive industry is stepping into a groundbreaking chapter of safety consciousness. With the advent of the Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), a remarkable stride has been made towards fortifying the safety of drivers and passengers alike.

The initiative, backed by the Government's unwavering emphasis on safer vehicles, is set to revolutionize the Indian automobile landscape and establish new benchmarks for car safety. 

Union Minister for Road, Transport, and Highways (MoRTH), Nitin Gadkari, has acknowledged the profound significance of this safety initiative with encouraging affirmations. In his words: 

"Bharat NCAP is not just a safety rating system; it's a commitment towards safer commutation in India. It's a crucial step forward in our collective journey towards enhanced road safety."

As you delve deeper into this article, you will find yourself exploring the fundamental dynamics of Bharat NCAP, its potential impact on car safety in India, and how it could shape the future of the Indian automobile industry.

So, the question we should be asking ourselves is not whether we are ready to embrace this change, but rather, how swiftly we can adapt to this new era of safety-oriented driving.

Are you prepared to navigate this change with us? Let's embark on this enlightening journey together.

India is on the brink of a significant leap in the realm of automotive safety, thanks to the launch of the Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP). This progressive initiative is not merely a protocol; it heralds a new era of safety consciousness in the country's vast automobile industry.

The Government of India, spearheaded by the Union Minister for Road, Transport, and Highways (MoRTH), Nitin Gadkari, is pushing the envelope to ensure safer vehicles for the Indian populace. The question arises: what exactly is Bharat NCAP and why is it so groundbreaking? 

Bharat NCAP, at its core, is a car safety rating initiative. It aims to provide consumers with information about the safety performance of vehicles, thereby encouraging manufacturers to prioritize safety in their designs. The programme is set to evaluate new cars based on comprehensive safety tests which will ultimately lead to a safety rating. This rating, in turn, will guide the consumer's car purchasing decisions. 

"The launch of Bharat NCAP is a defining moment in India's automobile industry. It signifies the undeniable shift towards a safety-first approach, and it is the Government's priority to ensure enhanced safety for all drivers and passengers on Indian roads." - Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road, Transport, and Highways.

With Bharat NCAP, the Indian automobile industry is set to transform its approach towards car safety. How will this initiative reshape the industry's landscape? What will be its implications for car manufacturers and consumers? In the following sections, we delve into these questions, demystifying Bharat NCAP and underscoring its significance as a groundbreaking car safety rating initiative.

Understanding Bharat NCAP: India's Groundbreaking Car Safety Rating Initiative

The significance of Bharat NCAP for India's Automobile Industry

The advent of Bharat NCAP, the New Car Assessment Programme, signals a transformative shift in India's automobile industry. As we tread into an era marked by a heightened sense of safety consciousness, the Bharat NCAP emerges as a beacon of change, steering the industry towards safer vehicles for consumers. This is not just a leap ahead, but a necessary evolution, underscored by Union Minister for Road, Transport, and Highways, Nitin Gadkari. 

But what exactly does this mean for the automobile industry? How does this programme revolutionize the landscape of car safety in India? Let's delve deeper into this initiative and its implications. 

"India accounts for 11% of global road accident deaths"

The Proactive Push Towards Safety 

Firstly, the introduction of Bharat NCAP brings with it an active push towards safety. Manufacturers will now be compelled to prioritize the safety features in their cars, knowing that they will be evaluated on these parameters.

This not only ensures safer vehicles on the roads but also encourages manufacturers to innovate and improve their safety technology. In essence, the Bharat NCAP is a catalyst for pioneering safety improvements in the industry. 

A Benchmark for Safety Standards 

Secondly, Bharat NCAP provides a standard against which all vehicles can be measured. This transparency ensures that consumers have clear and accurate information about the safety of the vehicles they are intending to purchase.

It empowers consumers to make informed decisions and stimulates manufacturers to elevate their safety standards to meet or exceed those of their competitors. 

Boosting Trust in the Industry 

Lastly, Bharat NCAP is instrumental in fostering trust in the automobile industry. When consumers see that their safety is being prioritized and that manufacturers are being held accountable for their safety standards, it enhances their confidence in the industry. This trust can lead to a positive cycle of growth and development for the industry. 

Thus, Bharat NCAP is more than a safety initiative; it's a stride towards a safer and more responsible automobile industry. Its ripple effects extend beyond safety, impacting transparency, innovation, and consumer trust. Not just a move, but a movement, Bharat NCAP is the future of India's automobile industry.

Bharat NCAP: Implementation and Cost:

Bharat NCAP is scheduled to commence from October 1, 2023. The program's voluntary nature invites car manufacturers to submit their models for safety testing. The initiative starts with a pool of 30 car models. Vehicles that undergo testing will feature a distinguished Bharat NCAP logo and rating sticker. This program marks India's entry as the fifth country globally to establish its car crash test rating system.

Eligibility Criteria:

To qualify for testing under Bharat NCAP, car models must have a cumulative sales volume of 30,000 units since their launch. Additionally, vehicles in the M1 category, capable of carrying up to eight individuals, including the driver, and weighing less than 3.5 tonnes, are eligible for testing. This inclusive approach encompasses CNG, electric vehicles, and internal combustion engine (ICE) models.

Testing Process and Selection:

The process of selection begins with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) nominating vehicle models for testing. Representatives from Bharat NCAP visit manufacturing facilities or dealer outlets to select a base variant at random.

The chosen test unit is sent to the nearest testing center, facilitated by the Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT). Upon completion, crash test results and safety ratings are published on Bharat NCAP's official website, with certificates issued by CIRT.

How Bharat NCAP Ratings are Calculated

As we delve deeper into the world of Bharat NCAP, it's crucial to understand how this groundbreaking safety rating initiative calculates its ratings. The process, while comprehensive, is designed to be objective and thorough, ensuring every vehicle is accurately assessed for its safety capabilities. 

The calculations for Bharat NCAP ratings revolve around a few critical components: 

  • Adult Occupant Protection (AOP): The safety of adult occupants is of paramount importance. This aspect is evaluated based on frontal and lateral crash tests, assessing the vehicle's effectiveness in protecting adult occupants in the event of a collision.
  • Child Occupant Protection (COP): Children, due to their vulnerability, require additional safety considerations. This criterion assesses the safety features specifically designed to protect child occupants.
  • Pedestrian Protection: A vehicle's design can significantly impact the severity of injuries to pedestrians during a collision. This factor evaluates the safety features that help minimize harm to pedestrians.
  • Safety Assist Technologies: These include technologies that support the driver in preventing accidents and mitigating the severity of crashes when they do occur. The presence and effectiveness of such technologies significantly influence the final rating.

"Only 10% of cars sold in India meet international safety standards"

Each of these factors is evaluated separately, and a score is assigned based on the vehicle's performance. The scores are then combined to generate the overall NCAP rating for the vehicle. But how are these scores calculated? 

Well, each vehicle undergoes a series of meticulously designed tests under strict conditions. The reactions and results are then evaluated by a team of qualified professionals who grade the performance under each category. This grading forms the basis of the final score.

It's important to note that the Bharat NCAP rating is not just a measure of a vehicle's safety features. It's an appraisal of how these features perform under real-world conditions. It's a safety assurance for you, the driver, and your passengers. It's the government's commitment to ensuring that every journey you embark upon in your vehicle is as safe as possible. 

The launch of Bharat NCAP marks a significant leap forward in the Indian automobile industry's commitment to safety. The rating system serves as a trusted guide for consumers, helping them make informed decisions when purchasing a vehicle. As we move forward, it's our collective responsibility to prioritize safety and support initiatives like Bharat NCAP, which strive to make our roads safer for everyone.

Parameters of Testing:

Bharat NCAP conducts crash tests in accordance with the Automotive Industry Standard (AIS) 197. The program evaluates vehicles based on three critical parameters: adult occupant protection (AOP), child occupant protection (COP), and safety assist technologies.

Ratings range from one star to five stars. A frontal offset test simulates a crash at 64 kmph with 40% overlap into a deformable barrier. Other tests include side impact and pole-side impact scenarios.

The minimum criteria for a 3-star rating include electronic stability control, side pole test clearance, and front seat belt reminders.

A vehicle can earn maximum of 32 points for AOP and 49 points for COP. The minimum scores for each star are mentioned below:

Star Rating AOP Points Scored COP Points Scored

Star Rating

AOP Points Scored

COP Points Scored

1 star



2 star



3 star



4 star



5 star



"Over 150,000 people die in road accidents in India every year"

The Importance of Safer Vehicles for India's Roadways

India's roadways, teeming with diverse traffic, are notoriously challenging to navigate. The importance of safer vehicles on these bustling thoroughfares cannot be understated.

The introduction of Bharat NCAP, a comprehensive car safety rating initiative, is a groundbreaking step toward enhancing the safety of drivers and passengers alike. Let's delve deeper into the significance of this powerful initiative. 

The Bharat NCAP, spearheaded by the Government, is a testament to its commitment to improving road safety. This program is pivotal in fostering an environment of safety-consciousness within India's automobile industry. Union Minister for Road, Transport, and Highways (MoRTH), Nitin Gadkari, has underscored the need for such an initiative, stating: 

"The safety of our drivers and passengers is paramount. With the implementation of Bharat NCAP, we are taking a significant leap toward ensuring safer vehicles on our roads."

There are several key reasons why safer vehicles are not just a necessity, but a vital component of India's roadways: 

  • High accident rates: India has one of the highest accident rates in the world. Vehicles designed and manufactured with an emphasis on safety can make a considerable difference in reducing these numbers.
  • Diverse traffic: Indian roadways witness a mix of vehicles, from two-wheelers and autos to cars and heavy-duty trucks. Safer four-wheelers can help mitigate the risks associated with such varied traffic.
  • Urbanization and increased vehicle ownership: With rapid urbanization and rising incomes, car ownership is on the rise. Ensuring these vehicles are safe will directly contribute to the well-being of the populace.

As we move forward, the significance of initiatives like Bharat NCAP will only become more pronounced. It is a progressive step that not only prioritizes safety but also nudges manufacturers to adhere to stringent safety norms. This reinforcement of safety consciousness is indeed a commendable stride in the right direction.

The Future of Car Safety in India

But what exactly does the future hold?

With the launch of Bharat NCAP, it's no longer business as usual. The government's emphasis on safer vehicles means that automobile manufacturers will now have to pay greater attention to safety features.

This is not just a shift in the production process, but a broader transformation of the industry's mindset. Now, safety is not an afterthought, it's a priority from the drawing board to the showroom floor. 

Notably, the benefits of Bharat NCAP go beyond the immediate stakeholders in the automobile industry. The common man, the end-user, stands to gain the most. They will now be able to make an informed decision, choosing their cars not just based on price and aesthetics, but also on the safety measures that are in place.

Empowering the consumer with knowledge about vehicle safety is an important step forward in fostering a safety-conscious society. 

Furthermore, Bharat NCAP will stimulate a culture of competition among manufacturers, driving them to innovate and enhance their safety standards. In turn, this will also benefit the nation in its quest to reduce road fatalities.

As Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road, Transport, and Highways, has underscored, Bharat NCAP stands as a crucial initiative toward ensuring enhanced safety for drivers and passengers. 

"With Bharat NCAP, we are not just making our roads safer, but we are also fostering a culture of safety consciousness. Every life is precious and through this initiative, we are taking a significant step forward in our commitment to reducing road fatalities."

So, as we look to the future, it's clear that Bharat NCAP is not just a policy change, but a catalyst for a safer and more sustainability-conscious India. The road ahead may be challenging, but with initiatives like Bharat NCAP, we are definitely on the right path. 

In this journey toward enhanced car safety, everyone has a role to play. As a consumer, you can contribute by making safety a priority in your vehicle choice. As a manufacturer, by integrating safety into your design and production process.

And as a citizen, by being an advocate for safe driving practices. Indeed, the future of car safety in India is a collective responsibility. One that we must all embrace for the safety and well-being of all road users.

Challenges and Opportunities for the Indian Automobile Industry with Bharat NCAP

heightened safety consciousness, the Indian automobile industry is faced with a unique blend of challenges and opportunities with the introduction of Bharat NCAP.

Indeed, Bharat NCAP, with its stringent safety standards, is a double-edged sword, compelling industry players to rethink their strategies while providing them with a platform to showcase their commitment to safety.

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One of the most pressing challenges is the need for substantial investments in research and development (R&D) and manufacturing processes. Bharat NCAP’s stringent safety regulations necessitate the design and production of vehicles that meet high safety parameters, which may drive up costs: 

"Adherence to Bharat NCAP's safety standards demands a considerable shift in the existing manufacturing paradigm, creating a financial burden on automakers. Yet, this challenge also offers an opportunity to innovate, optimize processes, and create value."

Another concern is the potential increase in vehicle prices. As manufacturers strive to incorporate advanced safety features, the cost of production escalates, leading to pricier vehicles. For a price-sensitive market like India, this could pose a significant hurdle. 


Notwithstanding the challenges, Bharat NCAP brings numerous opportunities to the fore. Foremost, it provides a clear framework for automakers to prioritize safety. This could pave the way for a new wave of innovation in vehicle safety, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in vehicle design and technology: 

"Bharat NCAP serves as a catalyst for innovation, encouraging automakers to explore new frontiers in vehicle safety. What was once considered a regulatory challenge could soon become a competitive advantage."

Moreover, by complying with these safety standards, automakers can cultivate a stronger brand image, positioning themselves as responsible industry players committed to customer safety. This could potentially boost customer and loyalty trust, leading to increased market share. 

The Role of the Government in Promoting Car Safety in India

 Programme) - a groundbreaking is, initiative a testament to this. commitment The aim is clear and commendable: to an foster environment where vehicles not are just efficient and economical, but also and, most, perhaps importantly for safe all users road.

The Government Pro'sactive Approach 

The Union Minister for Road, Transport, and Highways (MoRTH),in Nit Gadkari been, has a robust voice in advocating for safer vehicles. The launch of Bharat NCAP underscores his vision. But what does this proactive approach entail? 

  • Policy Implementation: The government is rigorously implementing policies that promote the production of safer vehicles. These policies mandate that all new cars adhere to specific safety standards before they hit the market.
  • Legislation: The government is actively revising existing legislation and introducing new laws to ensure adequate safety measures are integrated into every vehicle. Such laws include compulsory safety features and rigorous testing protocols.
  • Public Awareness: Alongside policy and legislation, the government is also investing in public awareness initiatives to educate consumers on the importance of vehicle safety. Knowledge is power, and the government is committed to empowering its citizens to make informed decisions.

Impact of Bharat NCAP 

The introduction of Bharat NCAP is a landmark step in India's automobile safety landscape. But, how exactly does it elevate the level of vehicle safety? 

"The Bharat NCAP initiative is not merely a policy or a program; it is a commitment to the safety of every Indian on the road. It's about reinforcing the belief that every life matters," says Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road, Transport, and Highways.

This initiative promotes transparency as it provides a standardized safety rating for new vehicles. This not only drives manufacturers to prioritize safety but also allows consumers to make informed choices. The star-rating system of Bharat NCAP, based on rigorous testing and evaluation, becomes a reliable guide for consumers to understand the safety level of the vehicle they intend to purchase. 

Moving Forward 

With the introduction of Bharat NCAP, India is on the right path towards a safer and more secure automobile future. The government's unwavering commitment to vehicle safety, demonstrated through this initiative, is a beacon of hope for the industry and the consumers alike.

As India accelerates towards a safer automotive future, the question is: Are we ready to embrace it?


TWN Special