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Different Types of Number Plates in India

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 06/07/2022

A number plate is a metal plate attached to the motor vehicle with the registration number. It is like an identity card of the motor vehicle. The number plate is mandatory, and if you drive without one, you may face serious consequences. The number plates in India are also known as High-Security Registration Plates or HSRP. According to the Motor Vehicles Act, 1989, a vehicle must be equipped with a number plate.

So, who administers number plates in India?—The Regional Transport Office at the district level of the states issue all types of number plates in India.

Essential Parts of a Number Plate

  • Registration number of the vehicle: The registration number of the motor vehicle is unique and is engraved on the plate with a hot stamp. The first two letters represent the state or union territory where the motor vehicle is registered. The following two numbers represent the district of registration. The remaining part of the vehicle is the unique identification number of the motor vehicle. 

  • Serial number: The serial number of the number plate is also different for every vehicle and is carved by laser. 

  • Hologram: A chromium-based symbol of Ashok Chakra is stamped on the left corner above the international code — “IND”.

  • Background: The background is different for various types of number plates. It can be a yellow number plate, a blue number plate, or a black number plate. The colour of the background helps identify different types of motor vehicles.

What is an IND Number Plate?

IND is an acronym for India and is an essential feature of the High-Security Number Plates. The IND number plate signifies the international registration code for India. It is found below the hologram on the number plate types in India. This feature was introduced in 2005 through an amendment in the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989.

Number Plate Rules in India

The Motor Vehicles Act, 1989 mandates every motor vehicle to have an RTO registration with a licensed plate. Moreover, amendments in the act were made to change vehicle rules to tackle rising crimes involving vehicles and to ease vehicle identification. Under the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, all motor vehicles should have an HSRP after April 1, 2019. The new rules are applied to old motor vehicles, too.

The HSRPs aim to create a national digital database of all registered motor vehicles in the country. The new number plates also have snap-on locks. Once tampered with, the locks can no longer be used. So, the number plates are helpful against duplication by roadside vendors. HSRPs also protect your vehicle from thefts or misuse by a criminal.

What are the Different Types of Number Plates and Their Significance?

Have you ever noticed that motor vehicles have different coloured number plates? Some plates are blue, and some are green, and so on. Find out in detail how many types of number plates are there in India. 

  • White background: Number plates with a white background are for private vehicles only. So, they cannot be used for commercial purposes, such as public transportation or ferrying passengers.

  • Yellow background: Commercial vehicles are equipped with a yellow background plate. You need a commercial driving permit to drive such motor vehicles.

  • Red background: Red plates with a red background are used for brand new vehicles in some states. These motor vehicles are waiting for the permanent number plate issued by the RTO.

  • Green background: A green number plate in India symbolises an electric vehicle. They are put on electric cars, buses, and commercial vehicles. Yellow letters on a green plate signify commercial electric vehicles, while white letters symbolise electric vehicles for private use.

  • Black background: Vehicles with a black plate often belong to luxury hotel vehicles. A black number plate in India can also be used in commercial vehicles that do not need a permit. Usually, rental car drivers drive vehicles with a black number plate.

  • Blue background:  Blue number plates in India are put on vehicles reserved for foreign diplomats. Moreover, they do not have a state code but the code of the respective countries of the diplomats.

  • Plain red: A plain red number plate was used by Governors of the states, while a plain red plate with a golden national emblem was used by the President of India. But are no longer in use now.

  • Number plate with an upward arrow: These number plates signify defence or military vehicles and are issued by the Ministry of Defence.

Apart from the different types of number plates in India, you can also get customised number plates with different fonts and sizes. These plates are costly, and the rules of allocation vary for each state. Also, if you want a stylish number plate, make sure you are aware of the new rules for customised plates. Moreover, according to the changed rules, the temporary registration plates will have alpha numerals written on a yellow background.


A number plate holds great significance for a car. It lets other people know about which state or district the vehicle is from, to whom it belongs, etc. Now that you know about the different types of number plates in India and their significance. It is essential to know more about the new motor vehicle rules.

The HSRP number plates ensure that your vehicle is safe from thieves and others’ tampering. But to ensure that your vehicle is safe from many other damages, a car insurance policy is essential. Car insurance provides adequate coverage to your vehicle against theft, accidental damage, vandalism, damage caused by natural disasters, etc. Besides, the Motor Vehicles Act mandates that all vehicles in India must have a valid third-party car insurance policy.

If you want to purchase a motor insurance policy, visit Tata AIG’s website. Tata AIG offers several types of motor insurance policies such as third-party car insurance, standalone own damage policy, and comprehensive car insurance. You can pick the right motor insurance for your vehicle. We gave an extremely easy car insurance claim process at Tata AIG. So, if you ever need to claim your car insurance policy, our team of experts will help you in your claim process.

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