A number plate is a very important element of any vehicle. Just like a driving license is required to drive, a number plate is necessary for the vehicle to ply on the road. More than just being a number, a number is like an identity card that identifies almost everything about the vehicle. Number plates today are highly specialised and are issued by the Regional Transport Authority (RTO). Previously, the onus of putting the number on the vehicle rested on the vehicle owner, which was not followed properly. Number plates are also called HSRP or High Security Registration Plates. Unlike the previous bolt on number plates, number plates today are locked in on the vehicle via special snap locks and a tool, and taking them off renders the plate useless for reuse.
The moment you buy a vehicle from the showroom the registration and the number plate issuing process starts, and after a few days, you get your number plate.
Components of a Number Plate
The HSRP issued by the government today is a highly specialised number plate and contains a variety of components that make it easier to identify a vehicle.
Its components are as follows.
Background: This is different for different types of plates, the most commonly used is the white background which is issued to private car owners. The letters and the numbers on this background are in black. The background is made of an illuminative material that glows when light falls on it to make the number clearly visible during nights.
Registration Number: This is embossed on the number plate, hot stamped with IND engraved at a 45-degree angle.
Hologram: On the top left corner the registration plate comes with a hot-stamped chromium-based hologram of Ashok Chakra. Below the hologram is IND – international registration code for India – printed.
Serial Number: This is etched on the number plate by a laser, this is unique for every number plate.
Types Of Number Plates
For different kinds of purposes and vehicles, the government issues different types of number plates. These are:
White Background: The most commonly seen number plate is the number plate having a white background with black lettering, this is issued to private vehicle owners who use it for personal uses.
Yellow background: This is the second most common type of number plate seen on the roads. This number plate has a yellow background with black lettering, specifying that the vehicle is being used for commercial purposes like transportation of goods and ferrying of passengers. It is mandatory for a commercial vehicle to have this number plate.
Black Background: These number plates have a black background with yellow lettering. Self driven rented vehicles have these number plates. Although commercial, the drivers of these vehicles do not need to have a commercial permit to drive them.
Green Background: Having a green background with white lettering, this kind of number plate is issued only to electric vehicles. There is a difference however; green plates with yellow lettering are electric vehicles used for commercial purposes, while the white lettering signifies private use.
Red Background: These number plates with white lettering are used for test vehicles. Other than that, plain red number plates are used by vehicles of the governors of states, and a red plate with the national emblem in gold is used by the vehicles of the President of India.
Blue Background: Blue number plates with white lettering are used by vehicles of foreign consulates; the numbers signify the country of the consulate.
Plates With Upward Arrow: These plates are found on defence vehicles.
How much time does it take for a number plate to be fitted on the car?
A waiting period of 10-12 days is required to get the hold of the specific number plates. After a few days, their status can be checked on a website. You’ll be informed once the number plates come in and can get them installed at your RTO or the car showroom, if they provide the service.
Can I drive without a number plate?
Some states in India do not allow driving without a number plate. However, in some, you can show the receipt of the application and drive. It is recommended to drive the vehicle only when the number plates come in and are fitted on your vehicle.
How much do the number plates cost?
The cost of a number plate for a car is ₹1100 while for a two wheeler it is ₹400. It would be a good idea to check the same with your car dealer or your RTO.
Why do electric vehicles have green number plates?
The green color signifies that the vehicle has zero emission.
Are all HSRPs the same?
Yes. All High Security Registration Plates follow the same template, this is done to introduce uniformity and security if in case a vehicle gets stolen or is used for illicit purposes. The HSRP number plates cannot be reused if taken off from a vehicle. If you damage your HSRP number plate you will need to connect with your local RTO who will then issue a duplicate HSRP.