While everyone is talking about the increased cess rate on luxury cars and how the rate would affect the vehicle sale, not enough attention is being paid on rider’s helmets. The 18% GST pressed on the riding helmets is sure to affect the sale of the said product, and eventually, that would hinder the road safety of the nation.
Before GST, helmets had been charged with 12.5% along with different value added taxes. However, there are many states like Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Goa had put off VAT on helmets. This step had made helmets at least 10% cheaper than the current price. Exempting helmets from GST would have been the ideal move to promote road safety. However, that would have been asking for too much given to the current scenario.
A 5% GST rate would have made the sellers and manufacturers of helmet happier. This would have promoted the helmet use among the motorcycle riders as well. The 18% GST that the central government has placed on helmets, would surely compromise the road safety as people will be reluctant to buy helmet due to the high price.
The onus is now on the road ministry and the GST council to come together and find a proper solution to promote the helmet use. This should be done both for the riders and the pillion riders. The move should start with reducing the tax rate charged on helmets and then campaigns should be organized in tier 2 and three cities. In the past few years, these cities have witnessed a major growth in the number of motorcycle riders.
The helmet manufacturer association said that helmets should not be treated like other products. The purpose of a helmet is greater than any other product. If any product deserves an exempt from GST, it is a helmet. He added that zero percent tax would have promoted growth in helmet sale.
However, with the 18% GST which is being charged the helmet sale in the major cities including Chennai, Kolkata, Jaipur, and Bangalore has slowed down. However, everyone is hoping that the GST Council will reduce the tax on a helmet and make riding a fun affair.