17.01.2024: Helmet Manufacturers Association urges government to reduce GST on helmets, and support setting up of testing facilities

As two-wheeler accidents claim a significant number of lives on India's roads, two-wheeler manufacturers have called for a reduction in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from the current 18 per cent to at least 12 per cent.

“We have already requested the government that, being a life-saving device, the GST on helmets should be 12 per cent, not 18 per cent. If the GST is reduced, customers will be able to purchase good quality helmets at a more affordable price,” said the President of the Two-Wheeler Helmet Manufacturers Association.

According to the most recent data from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), two-wheelers account for 42 per cent of accidents and 41 per cent of fatalities due to road accidents. In 2022, the total number of accidents reported by MoRTH was 151,997, of which 63,115 involved two-wheelers. This marked a 20 per cent increase from the 2021 figures. Similarly, fatalities due to two-wheeler accidents rose by 11 per cent between 2021 and 2022. In 2022, the total fatalities were recorded at 61,038, with 25,228 attributed to two-wheeler incidents.

“According to reports, only 30 per cent of riders in India wear helmets. Helmets are not currently mandatory in India, but the government is expected to enforce this requirement gradually,” he added. Under the motorcycle act, each company must provide a helmet with each motorcycle to ensure rider safety. Some states have mandated the supply of two helmets.

“The helmet industry, particularly the branded segment, is experiencing significant growth. Steelbird is projected to grow by 30 per cent, owing to the launch of very innovative products. The market is shifting towards branded products, and more bikes are being introduced,” he continued. After a decline during the Covid-19 pandemic, helmet sales are now rebounding. Sales rose from around 13.9 million units in 2020 to 20.5 million in 2021 and 22.05 million in 2022, compared to 21 million in 2018.

Kapur estimates that the total capacity in the branded segment is around 30 million, with the unbranded segment likely at a similar level. “We are investing Rs 105 crore in our Baddi plant. Our production capacity will soon increase to 15,000 helmets per day from the current 13,000,” he stated regarding Steelbird's expansion plans.

Source: The Financial Express

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