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What Your Number Plate Says About Your Vehicle: Understanding India's System

Niti Post - March 3, 2023
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India is a land of diverse cultures, and this diversity is reflected in the different types of number plates found on vehicles. From white plates for private vehicles to green plates for electric vehicles, each type serves a unique purpose. With the introduction of new motor laws, it is essential to understand the meaning behind each plate to avoid legal issues.

Kinds of Number Plates in India

India has eight different types of number plates, including white, yellow, green, red, blue, black number plates with upward-pointing arrows, and red number plates with the emblem of India. The Regional Transport Office (RTO) issues these number plates, and they must be fixed on both the front and back of vehicles.

Different Number Plates and their Meanings

White Number Plates

White number plates with black letters are the most common type of number plate in India. They are issued to private vehicles and cannot be used for commercial purposes.

Yellow Number Plates

Yellow number plates with black letters are specifically issued to commercial vehicles, and drivers must have commercial driving permits to operate these vehicles.

Green Number Plates

Green number plates represent electric vehicles. They are used for commercial and private electric buses and cars.

Black Number Plates

Black number plates are used for rental cars operated by luxury hotels. Drivers do not require commercial licenses to operate these vehicles.

Red Number Plates

Red number plates are temporary and used as a vehicle’s temporary registration number for brand new cars. The car owner typically receives a permanent number plate from the RTO soon after. Temporary registrations are valid for one month, and the rules for obtaining them vary by state.

Blue Number Plates

Blue number plates are reserved for foreign diplomats and are allocated by relevant authorities. The plates come with alphabets like DC, CC, UN, which represent Diplomatic Corps, Consular Corps, and United Nations, respectively. The diplomat’s country code is used instead of the state code.

Number Plates with Upward-Pointing Arrows

Number plates with upward-pointing arrows are meant for military personnel. They have a unique style of number plate, and registration of military vehicles is done under the Defense Ministry. The number plate specifies the year in which the vehicle was acquired, the base code, the serial number, and the vehicle category.

Red Number Plates with India’s Emblem

Red number plates with India’s emblem in golden color are used by the President of India or the Governor of States.

Laws Related to Number Plates in India

According to the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, every vehicle plying on Indian roads must have a valid license plate with RTO registration. From 1st October 2020, new motor laws have come into effect. The new law states that driving vehicles with temporary RC numbers that are paper-printed is an offense. Temporary license plates now have a red color scheme on a yellow background. Characters written in Arabic numerals and English letters are the only ones that can be used. No regional language is allowed on number plates. The new law also upgraded the Central Motors Vehicles Rules in terms of size, spacing, and thickness between characters on Indian vehicle number plates. These rules apply to all petrol, diesel, and CNG four-wheeler vehicles.

India’s number plate system is a crucial aspect of road safety and security. The various types of number plates serve different purposes and are subject to different regulations, and it is essential for all motorists to be aware of these regulations to avoid any legal issues. With the introduction of the High Security Registration Plate system, the Indian government has taken a significant step towards standardizing number plates and improving security measures. It is now up to motorists to ensure that they comply with the new regulations and help make Indian roads safer and more secure.

 

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