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CI_January2018An Eventful Year
ANOTHER YEAR HAS GONE BY AND 2017 WITNESSED considerable turmoil in the Indian economy: first came the demonetisation and then the GST. The effects of demonetisation lasted for more than six months. When the GST was implemented, we thought that there would be a level playing field, but, alas, it was not to be. Once again, sub-four metre cars with engine capacity of 1,200 cc (petrol) and 1,500 cc (diesel) attract a lower rate of GST, whereas cars measuring more than four metres attract a higher rate and luxury cars are slapped with extra cess, calling them ‘sin goods’. Moreover, hybrid cars are taxed at an extortionate 43 per cent.

As we move into 2018, the auto industry in India is clearly at the crossroads. For a start, the process to convert to Bharat VI will have begun. At the same time, the transition to hybrid cars will also commence, the government permitting. All the major manufacturers will start firming up plans for the launch of electric vehicles post 2020. Of course, all these efforts will come to naught if the prices of electric vehicles remain beyond the reach of the car buying public. We have seen the situation in Delhi where the tribunal and the government are at loggerheads and citizens continue to suffer with one of the highest pollution rates in the world.

In our wishlist for 2018, we hope that the government will quickly rationalise its taxation system by encouraging the use of hybrid electric cars and will also bring petroleum products under GST without the crushing burden of extortionate cesses. In the absence of a clear policy and proper encouragement, it is likely that new launches in 2018 will be muted.

It is also high time we centralised the car registration process. A uniform registration fee across the country whilst paying road tax on fuel would ensure that people who use guzzlers or those who clock more mileage will automatically have to pay more road tax.

This year, once again Hyundai walked away with the Indian Car of the Year (ICOTY ) award with their Next Gen Verna. This was the closest win in the past 13 years with the Verna winning over the Maruti Dzire by a single point.

We wish all of you a happy and safe New Year. Please don’t drink and drive, follow traffic rules and please remember that your loved ones are waiting for you.

EDITOR – ASPI BHATHENA

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