Road safety body International Road Federation (IRF) wrote a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, demanding removal of GST on life saving device helmets for safety of the two-wheeler riders in the forthcoming Union Budget 2023-24.
“India accounts for about 11 per cent of road accident deaths worldwide and the economic loss is about $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 per cent 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 K.K. Kapila, President Emeritus, International Road Federation (IRF) said in his letter.
“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,” Kapila stated.
He said that currently, the applicable rate of GST on helmet, which is a life saving device, is 18 per cent. “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,” Kapila added.
As per the Section 129 of the Central Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 wearing of helmets is mandatory for two-wheeler riders.