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Economic Boost Required

As the country and the world limp back to a normal life, we have begun testing and reviewing cars for our readers. The automobile industry is facing a tough time and there is no help from the government to tide over the difficult times. The restrictions on the number of people at a workplace make it very difficult for the component manufacturers to manufacture themselves and for the dealer principals. The automobile industry is a long chain and if even one link is not able to function properly, the whole industry suffers. The government speaks about an economic boost but there has been no reduction either in the GST or in the personal income-tax for the middle class.

With the social distancing norms in place the demand for cars should have gone up, but the sentiment is at an all-time low, what with people taking a salary cut or, worse still, losing their jobs altogether. Those who were planning to buy a car have put that on hold. The rise in the prices of petrol and diesel is a further dampener. The prices of essential commodities go up with the cost of fuel because the cost of transport also goes up. Just for comparison, during the UPA government when the cost of crude oil was USD 40 per barrel, the price of diesel was Rs 33 per litre and that of petrol was Rs 46 per litre. The one silver lining is that the volume of traffic has gone down during this period of lockdown and driving has become a pleasure.

This month we tested the Kia Carnival and I was pleasantly surprised to see how the 2.2-litre engine performed. I would say the quality of the Carnival’s interior is better than that of some of the MUVs costing twice the amount. Thus, it has set a new benchmark and carved a niche for itself.

One argument has been laid to rest during this period of lockdown: that the future is digital and that the days of print media are over. On the contrary, many readers have written to us asking for the resumption of the printed magazine. Most of them said that reading it on the tablet was not half as pleasurable, with the result that they would only read the title and the intro of a story.


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