At a time when cycling has taken off siginificantly across India as a commuting as well as viable exercise option, Hero Cycles is eyeing a cut in GST rates to further popularize cycles in the country. The company feels this, along with support infrastructure, could further accelerate the usage of bicycles.
Cycling has taken off significantly in current times with companies such as Hero Cycles reporting increased sales. Cycles priced at over ₹10,000 are especially in high demand and many manufacturers are finding it hard to meet the rise in demand.
While the rise in demand augers well for cycle makers, Hero Cycles is of the opinion that the key to maintain momentum lies in a reduction in GST. "Covid-19 has enabled a behavioral shift among urban populations and helped increase the culture of cycling," says Pankaj Munjal, Chairman and Managing Director, HMC. "To stay safe in the pandemic and avoid gyms and public transport, an increasing number of people have adopted cycling as a fitness regimen or as a mode of transport for short and medium distances. If this behavioral shift happens on a mass level, it will bring about remarkable improvements in air quality as also in people’s health. The government must consolidate this shift by launching a series of supportive policy measures."
Munjal further says that cutting GST rates could bring premium cycles within the buying range of masses. "Slashing GST on bicycles from current 12% to 5% will make bicycles more affordable for different sections of people including premium as well as mass category bicycles and further incentivize their usage."
Munjal also makes a case for e-cycles and while these are in a niche category, he feels it is time to include such products in the government's FAME II scheme. "While E cycles have been included in the EVs category for tax benefits, the manufacturing subsidy benefits under the government’s Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME II) are not extended to E cycles. We appeal to the government to extend the subsidy benefits under FAME II to electric cycle category as well to help manufacturers lower the costs for consumers.