All vehicles plying on Indian roads are required to be registered with the RTO and bear a registration plate (license plate or number plate) as per The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. However, we have multiple different types of number plates in India for cars, bikes, scooters, and other vehicles. All these various types of registration plates in India serve different purposes and have distinctive meanings depending on the type of vehicle. Here is everything you should know about different types of licence plates and their meanings.
Types Of Number Plates In India
As per the rules, every vehicle should have a valid number plate issued by the local RTO of the respective state which should be attached at the front and rear of the vehicle. At present, there are eight types of number plates in India for vehicles.
- White Number Plate – A white plate with black letters is the most common type of vehicle registration plate and is used for vehicles which are solely used for private purposes. All common citizens can use this type of registration plate in India. A vehicle with a white number plate can not be used for commercial purposes. Bharat Series number plates also fall under this category and are a great choice for those working as Central Government employees or working in companies which have offices in multiple states.
- Yellow Number Plate – A number plate with yellow background and black lettering is used for commercial vehicles like taxis, trucks, cabs, and more. Only commercial drivers are authorised to use vehicles with a yellow number plate.
- Green Number Plate – A number plate with green background and black lettering is reserved for private electric vehicles in India. For a commercial electric vehicle, you will be seeing a green number plate with yellow lettering. This is also valid for road-legal electric buses in India and other commercial vehicles.
- Black Number Plate – A black number plate with yellow lettering is used for commercial vehicles that do not require the driver to have a commercial driving permit. Such plates are used by hotels and organisations for their vehicles but are also seen on self-drive rental vehicles.
- Red Number Plate – Red number plates are used for brand-new vehicles bearing Temporary vehicle registration numbers. A temporary number plate is used to operate a vehicle before permanent RTO registration and is valid for 1 month. Different states have different rules for temporary number plates. A red plate is also used for vehicles registered on a trade certificate.
- Blue Number Plate – A blue number plate is used for vehicles registered for foreign diplomats and consists of alphabets like DC (Diplomatic Corps), CC (Consular Corps), and UN (United Nations). Unlike the standard registration plates in India, a blue number plate has country codes instead of state codes.
- Number Plate With Upward-Pointing Arrow – A number plate with an upward-pointing arrow is used for a vehicle which has been registered under the Ministry of Defense. Such plates are generally used for military vehicles and have first and third upward-pointing arrows. The two digits after the arrow indicate the year in which the military vehicle was procured while the next set of numbers represents the base code followed by the serial number. A penultimate letter of the registration number signifies the class of the vehicle.
- Red Number Plate With Emblem of India – A red number plate with a golden Emblem of India is used for vehicles belonging to the President of India or Governors of respective states.
What Is HSRP (High Security Registration Plate)?
As per the current law and number plate regulations, all vehicles registered after April 1, 2019, should have an HSRP or High Security Registration Plate. HSRP plates are special plates issued by the Government that prevent vehicle theft and help in vehicle tracking. HSRP also helps in creating a digitised national database of registered vehicles in India.
For those wondering, an HSRP plate is made of aluminium with a unique laser-etched code below the IND and Ashoka Chakra hologram. Such a plate also gets the registration number hot stamped with IND engraved at a 45-degree angle. An HSRP is secured with snap locks for better safety.
The first two letters of the HSRP plate (DL, HR, GJ, etc) represent the state or region which the vehicle is registered with. The next two digits represent the district of registration in the state while the last four numbers are unique for every vehicle.