15.11.2022: Road safety body IRF seeks zero percent GST on helmets

Road safety body International Road Federation (IRF) has urged Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to make helmets GST-free, seeking zero percent GST on the life-saving wears for the two-wheeler riders from the current 18 per cent.

“Road traffic accidents is a global menace and India contributes around 11 percent to the total fatalities on account of this preventable cause. Statistics broadly reveal that around 500,000 road traffic accidents take place every year resulting in more than 150,000 fatalities and over 500,000 injuries, some leading to permanent disabilities. A large chunk of these are from the age group of 18 to 45 years, the most productive population for any economy. Two wheeler riders, being most vulnerable, constitute a major share of road accidental deaths primarily due to head injuries.” said K.K. Kapila, President Emeritus, International Road Federation (IRF) in a letter to the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

“One of the most effective measures to reduce the two wheeler accident injuries and fatalities is the use of standard helmets. The helmet usage in our country has been found to be low. Our country is facing an increasing burden of traffic accidents, injuries and deaths. A total of 151,113 people were killed out of 480,652 road accidents across India in 2019, an average of 414 a day or 17 an hour, according to a report by the transport research wing of the ministry of road transport and highways. Out of the total road accidental deaths, 31.4 percent are of two wheeler drivers,” Kapila said.

“It has been noticed that most of the two-wheeler riders fall in economically weaker and lower income groups and prefer to purchase helmets which are cheaper and inferior in quality. Most of these helmets are not capable to save a rider’s life, in case of an accident,” he said.

“Currently, the applicable rate of GST on helmets is 18 percent which is a life saving device. As per road safety experts, to reduce the road accident fatalities by 50 per cent by 2025 much before the end of 2030 the GST 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 also in reducing the whooping GDP loss due to road accidents in our economy,” he added.

Source: The Siasat Daily

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