International Road Federation (IRF) on Tuesday expressed concerns over the increase in the number of road accidents in India in 2022 and demanded that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on helmets be slashed to nil to encourage riders to wear helmets.
At present, a GST of 18 per cent is levied on helmets.
A report titled 'Road accidents in India -- 2022' revealed that 4,61,312 road accidents occurred in 2022, claiming 1,68,491 lives, and leaving 4,43,366 injured.
As per the report, 50,029 people who died in accidents were not wearing a helmet, and 35,692 (71.3 per cent) were drivers.
IRF President emeritus K K Kapila said India accounts for about 11 per cent of road accident deaths worldwide and the economic loss is about USD 15.71-38.81 billion as per the latest Bosch Report.
Helmet usage in the country has been found to be low and it has been noticed that most two-wheeler riders fall in lower income groups and prefer to purchase helmets that are cheaper in quality.
"IRF strongly recommends that there should be no GST on helmets. This will help in making standard helmets more affordable for the masses and discourage them from buying helmets of substandard quality," he said.
As per Section 129 of the Central Motor Vehicle Act, 1988 wearing of helmets is mandatory for people riding two-wheelers.