International Road Federation (IRF) , Geneva based global road safety body working for better and safer roads worldwide in a letter written to the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has demanded reduction of GST on life saving device helmets for safety of the Two-wheeler riders from present 10% to 0% in the forthcoming Union Budget 2023-24.
“India accounts for about 11 per cent to road accident deaths worldwide and the economic loss is about US$ 15.71- 38.81 billion to the Indian Economy as per the latest Bosch Report. The two wheeler riders, being most vulnerable, constitute almost 31.4% of road accidental deaths primarily due to head injuries. One of the most effective measures to reduce the two wheeler accident injuries and fatalities is the use of standard helmets.” Said Mr K K Kapila, President Emeritus, International Road Federation (IRF) in his letter to the Finance Minister .
“The helmet usage in our country has been found to be low. It has been noticed that most of the two-wheeler riders fall in economically weaker and lower income group and prefer to purchase helmets which are cheaper and inferior in quality. Many of these helmets are not capable to save a rider’s life, in case of an accident.” Said Mr Kapila.
“Currently, the applicable rate of GST on helmets is 18% which is a life saving device. I, as a proponent of Road Safety, strongly recommend that there should be no GST on helmets. This will help in making the standard helmets more affordable for the masses and will discourage them from buying helmets of substandard quality. This in turn will assist, not only in reducing road accident fatalities of two wheeler riders, but will also help in reducing the whooping GDP loss due to road accidents to our economy.” Mr Kapila said .
As per the Section 129 of the Central Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 wearing of helmets is mandatory for two-wheeler riders. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in consultation with the Bureau of Indian Standards has passed a notification vide order no. F. No. RT-11012/07/2012-MVL dated 30th July, 2020 making usage of helmets compulsory as per relevant BIS Standards.
“Reduction of GST on helmets will help in making the standard helmets more affordable for the masses and will discourage them from buying helmets of substandard quality. This in turn will assist, not only in reducing road accident fatalities of two wheeler riders, but also in reducing the whooping GDP loss due to road accidents in our economy.” Said Mr Kapila.