Explained: What’s the new BH series registration plates for vehicles

The government by amending Rule 47 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, has mandated that vehicles bearing the BH registration mark will not require to be re-registered in a new state once it relocates.

Relocating a car or a two-wheeler to another state may often be a pain. One has to get an NOC from the current state and then re-register the vehicle in the next state where the vehicle will be relocated. There is also the issue of paying road tax to the next state all over again.

In order to free vehicle owners from all this hassle, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has notified Bharat series of “BH” series of registration which people can opt for.

Those who are in transferable jobs, like those in Defence, Railways, other government employees or even private sector employees whose companies are present in multiple states, are often faced with this bit of lengthy paperwork and procedure about their vehicles. This pain point will be removed with the implementation of this new system.

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How does the current system work?

At present, when a person relocates to another state and wants to take her vehicle along with her, she has to first get a No Objection Certificate from the state where the vehicle is currently registered. The government calls it the “parent” state of the vehicle. The parent state’s NOC is a must for assignment of a new registration in another state.

And new registration is a must because under Section 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, a vehicle can reside in another state with the same registration for 12 months during which it has to be re-registered in the new state. She also applies for refund of the road tax in the parent state on a pro rata basis.

This is because when one buys and registers a new personal vehicle, the state government, or the parent state, charges the road tax up front for the whole registered life of the vehicle, which is 15 years.

When the same vehicle relocates in another state after, say, five years, the parent state has to refund the remaining 10 years’ road tax it has already received. In the new state, the vehicle owner pays the road tax calculable for the remaining period of the vehicle’s life, say 10 years.

The government has finally realised that this provision to get a refund from the parent state is a very cumbersome process and varies from one state to another. One has to wade their way through the bureaucratic maze of the Regional Transport Offices and encounter several hurdles.

The government—state as well as Centre—has not yet come up with a system wherein remaining road tax is transferred from one state to another.

The new system

The new system of allotting BH series registration to vehicles will be completely online without the vehicle owner having to figure out complicated red-tape.

It will come into force from September 15 this year.

The government by amending Rule 47 of the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, has mandated that vehicles bearing the BH registration mark will not require to be re-registered in a new state once it relocates.

Who is eligible to get this facility?

Anyone who is a government/PSU employee, state or Centre, is eligible. In private sector, an employee of a company that has offices in at least four states/UTs is eligible to get the BH number on voluntary basis. She has to apply by filling up Form 60 and furnish valid employment ID/proof online. The state authorities will verify the proof and then assign the BH registration. The registration number will be randomly generated by computer.

What about the tax issue?

Vehicles registering under the BH system will be levied road tax for two years and in multiple of two thereafter, instead of the owner paying for the whole amount of 15 years’ worth of road tax up front. This frees the owner from having to seek refund before or after relocation because the tax has not pre-paid. After completion of the fourteenth year, the motor vehicle tax shall be levied annually which shall be half of the amount which was charged earlier for that vehicle.

How much will be the road tax?

The government has defined that for a BH registration vehicle, the road tax will be charged at 8 per cent if the cost of the vehicle is below Rs 10 lakh. It is 10 per cent for those costing between Rs 10-20 lakh. And for vehicles costing more than Rs 20 lakh, the tax is 12 per cent. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways received several suggestions as well as carried out deliberation with states before coming up with this notification. Diesel vehicles will be charged 2 per cent extra Electric vehicles shall be charged 2 per cent less tax. The road tax charged varies from state to state, but this is largely the range anyway.

How does a BH number look like?

A typical BH number may look like “21 BH XXXX AA”.

In this the first two digits is the year of the first registration, BH is the code for the series, the four numbers (XXXX) are randomly generated, followed by two letters of the English alphabet.

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