All motorised road vehicles in India are tagged with a registration or license number. The Vehicle registration plate (commonly known as number plate) number is issued by the district-level Regional Transport Office (RTO) of respective states — the main authority on road matters. The number plates are placed in the front and back of the vehicle. By law, all plates are required to be in modern Hindu-Arabic numerals with Latin letters. Other guidelines include having the plate lit up at night and the restriction of the fonts that could be used. In some states such as Sikkim, cars bearing outside plates are barred from entering restricted areas.The international vehicle registration code for India is IND.
The union territory of Delhi has an additional code in the registration code: DL 9 CAA 1111 where DL is the two letter code for Delhi (DL). The additional C (for category of vehicle) is the letter S for two-wheelers, C for cars and SUVs, E for electric vehicles (in some cases only), P for public passenger vehicles such as buses, R for three-wheeled rickshaws, T for tourist-licensed vehicles and taxis, V for pick-up trucks and vans and Y for hire vehicles. This system is also applicable in other states. (For example, Rajasthan, where RJ is the two letter code, P is for passenger vehicles, C for cars, S for scooters and G for goods vehicles.)
All Indian states and Union Territories have their own two-letter code. This two-letter referencing came into action in the 1980s. Before that each district or Regional Transport Officer’s office had a three-letter code which did not mention the state. This led to a fair degree of confusion — for example, MMC 8259 could fit in anywhere in the country. To avoid this ambiguity the state code was included along with the district or RTO’s office. In some states, such as Maharashtra, licence plates before 1960, when the state was known as Bombay Presidency, bear notations such as BMC.
The newly created states of Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Telangana (from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh respectively), are registering vehicles under their new two-letter codes, while the old numbers registered in the RTO offices of these states under the RTO code of the parent state still stay valid. In 2007, the state of Uttaranchal was renamed as Uttarakhand, thus the state code changed from UA to UK. In 2011, the state of Orissa was renamed as Odisha, thus the state code changed from OR to OD.