Placing helmets into the 18 per cent GST slab will hurt the industry and compromise safety of two-wheeler riders as it will accelerate sales of substandard and cheap products, industry body ISIHMA has said. ISI Helmet Manufacturers Association (ISIHMA), the body of organised helmet manufacturers, said the government should have pushed for good quality helmets by making them affordable with a zero GST rate. At present, helmets attract excise duty of 12.5 per cent with VAT ranging from 0-14.5 per cent depending on states, with an abatement of 35 per cent on MRP. “Helmets must not be treated like other commodities. The purpose they serve is far greater and must not come under any GST policy,” ISIHMA President Rajeev Kapur said in a statement. Kapur said that under the new GST rate, ISI marked helmets will become costly.
“This will inflate the unorganised market and the whole purpose of the government to bring out new ISI standard and mandatory use of ISI helmets will be defeated,” he added. The association said many lives are lost on Indian roads in accidents involving two-wheelers despite riders wearing helmets which are of poor quality sold by unorganised players. ISIHMA further said many people still considered helmets a financial burden and 18 per cent GST rate will only make it more difficult for them. “It is not only about saving the helmet industry from sinking low but also ensuring the safety of people without burning a hole in their pocket,” Kapur said.