Different Types of Number Plates in India


In India, number plates, also called vehicle registration plates, work as an important way of identifying the vehicle. Each vehicle of any category gets its number plates which define its identity. The introduction of number plates has immensely helped the authorities to keep detailed information on every vehicle. These number plates are the main source of safety for the vehicle and its owner. The number plates have also helped police authorities to reduce vehicle theft as they can easily track missing vehicles through number plates.

These vehicle number plates consist of a combination of letters and numeric numbers that describe the owner of the vehicle. The format of the number plates denotes the area or the state from which the vehicle is. Number plates are mandatory in India for all types of vehicles. As per transport rules and regulations, a vehicle cannot move legally if there is no number plate on it.

Number Plate Overview

These vehicle number plates consist of a combination of letters and numeric numbers which describe the owner of the vehicle. The format of the number plates denotes the area or the state from which the vehicle is. If a person buys a new vehicle, they are offered a temporary number with the vehicle. The validity of that temporary number plate is 1 month until the vehicle gets a permanent number. People have the option to apply for a permanent number within this period at the RTO office nearby.

Colored Number Plates

Now, we already know about the vehicle's number plate in India and why it was used. However, you may have noticed a difference in the color of the number plates. Many vehicles are running on the Indian roads. There are different types of number plates in India. Some are personal vehicles like cars and 2 wheelers and some are commercial vehicles. These different colored number plates denote the different categories of vehicles. 

S. No. Different colored number plates
1. White number plate
2. Yellow number plate
3. Black number plate
4. Green number plate
5. Blue number plate
6. Red number plate
7. Upward pointing number plate
8. Red number plate with the emblem of India

Meaning of different number plates in India

Certain categories are defined by the government to monitor these vehicles easily. Here are all the different colored number plates and their meanings -

White Number Plate - These types of number plates are mostly used by common people on their private vehicles. This type of number plate features black numbers and letters on a white background. White number plates are strictly used on private vehicles and are not used on any kind of commercial vehicles. 

Yellow Number Plate - You may have observed some vehicles with yellow number plates in India. These number plates are different from white number plate vehicles. These kind of number plates are used on commercial vehicles in India like taxis, buses, trucks, and rickshaws. On these number plates, the black colored numbers are written on a yellow background. These yellow-colored vehicle drivers should have a commercial driving license. You can find different commercial vehicles from different manufacturers in TrucksBuses like Tata, Ashok Leyland, Mahindra, Eicher, Force etc.

Black Number Plate - These number plates are used on self-driven or rental vehicles in India. These vehicles are also registered as commercial vehicles but a person. But, to drive a black number plate vehicle, a person does not need a commercial vehicle driving license. 
These number plates feature yellow numbers and letters on a black background.

Green Number Plate - Green number plates are strictly used for electric vehicles (EVs) in India. These vehicles are also called electric vehicles which run on electricity. These vehicles are known for their eco-friendly nature which creates no air pollution. These number plates can be used on both private and commercial vehicles. However, the lettering on these number plates is different. On commercial vehicles, there is a green number plate with yellow lettering, and on private vehicles, there is a green number plate with white lettering.

Blue Number Plate - In India, these number plates are offered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to foreign delegates. Instead of a state code, these number plates have the diplomat's country code written on them. These number plates have letters like CC(Consular Corps), UN(United Nations), DC(Diplomatic Corps), etc.

Number  Country
1 Afghanistan
2 Algeria
5 Australia
7 Bangladesh 
11 Great Britain
17 China 
52 Netherlands
68 Pakistan
73 Turkey
75 Russia
77 United States
102 Iceland
109 Israel
134 Botswana

Red Number Plate - The red colour number plate is given as a temporary registration number to the owner of the brand-new vehicle. It is used by the people until they get permanent registration by RTO. This temporary registration is valid for 1 month. However, many Indian states do not allow red number plate vehicles to run on the roads according to the state rules.

Upward Pointing Number Plate - These upward-pointing number plates are different styles of number plates. These number plates are issued to the Military registered vehicles by the Ministry of Defence. The upward-pointing arrow in these number plates is also known as the broad arrow. The first digit after the arrow describes the year in which the vehicle was purchased. The next alphabet is a base code. It is followed by a serial number. After the serial number, there is an alphabet that describes the vehicle’s class.

Red number plate with emblem of India - Red number plates with an emblem of India are owned and used by the central and the state government of India officials. The high-ranked government officials have the authority to use these number plates.

Importance of Coloured Number Plates

Colored number plates on roads are very important in different aspects. Some main importance of colored number plates is as follows: 

Identification - Different colored number plates define the different types of vehicles. The white number plates signify private number vehicles, yellow number plates signify commercial vehicles, and diplomatic vehicles for blue number plates.
Improves visibility - With the help of colored number plates, the visibility of vehicles has improved at night time when the lighting is not appropriate. It will also improve safety on the road when other drivers, pedestrians and police authorities can identify the vehicle.
Easy for government - It is easy for the government to keep track of different types of vehicles. If there are the same colored number plates on the roads, then the government cannot identify the vehicles because the government needs to enforce the rules on the vehicles.
Creating awareness of the environment - There are a lot of electric vehicles running on the roads. These vehicles have green number plates. It creates awareness about eco-friendly vehicles on the roads. This will persuade people to buy more electric vehicles to save the environment from extra pollution. 

Colored number plates and their users

Types of colors  Users
White Common People
Yellow Commercial vehicle users
Black Rental vehicle users
Green  Electric vehicle users
Blue Foreign delegates, vehicle users
Red Temporary registration plate
Upward pointing number plate Military vehicle users
Red number plate with the emblem of India Higher government official vehicle users

Rules of Number Plates in India

The Central Motor Vehicle Rules and Motor Vehicle Act 1988 both these Act regulate the use of number plates in India.

These are some important rules and regulations in India. 

Number plate Mandatory: Every vehicle must have number plates in India. The number plates should be visible from a distance even in artificial lighting conditions.
Commercial cars - These number plates should be yellow in background color, and the number written on it should be black.
Rental cars - These are rental cars. These number plates should feature yellow numbers and letters on a black background.
Size of Number Plates -  The standard size of the number plates should be 20cm x 10cm in front and 22cm x 12cm.
No Modification - A person in India has no authority to change or modify the number plates. It is treated as an illegal practice in India.

Bharat Number Plate in India

Bharat number plates are a new facility that is provided by the government of India to the people. Many people relocate to different cities and states because of their transferable jobs. In that matter, people have to again register their vehicles in the different states in which they are shifting. The government allows these vehicles to run on the roads for a year. But if you haven’t re-registered your vehicle in that period, you can have to pay the fine to the police.
Bharat number plate provides this facility to the people. You don’t have to re-register the vehicle if you have Bharat's number plate. These number plates are allotted to selected categories of people i.e. employees of the center or state government or defense people.

FAQs on Number Plates

Why there are green number plates on the electric vehicle?

These number plates are used in electric vehicles in India. The color green defines the eco-friendly nature of the vehicle. 

Can I modify my number plate?

No, as per the government rules and regulations, you cannot modify, change or modify the number. It is a punishable offense

I would use my car as a commercial vehicle. Which color number plate will apply to my car? 

As a commercial vehicle, a yellow number would apply to your car as it is strictly used on commercial vehicles.