THE GST BOARD IS STICKING TO ITS GUNS AND NOT GIVING any tax benefit to hybrids even after the Karnataka government put Toyota’s case before the Centre. Hybrids are the immediate solution to pollution. The rule still remains the same: bring an archaic 1.2 petrol or a 1.5 diesel and keep the length of the car or SUV below four metres and you can avail of a lower rate of GST. It is sad that a big luxury sedan like the Honda Accord Hybrid that delivers better fuel efficiency with lower tailpipe emissions than a small hatchback gets no tax benefit.
There is a flipside to this problem and one cannot blame the GST board because some manufacturers did take advantage by calling a start-stop system ‘micro hybrid’ to claim tax benefits. A start-stop system cannot be termed as hybrid and such cars should not be given any tax benefits.
The idea of going to electric cars by 2030 is very noble but hardly realistic. Even a city like Pune does not enjoy uninterrupted power supply: every Thursday there is daylong load-shedding for maintenance purposes. The situation in the rural areas is even worse: there is load-shedding on a daily basis for up to 18 hours. It will be a tough task providing charging points in public parking areas. These will either be vandalised overnight or some smart alec will siphon off the power supply to run his own shop or home.
Realistically speaking, we need to promote proper hybrid and CNG. It should be made mandatory for all petrol pumps to have at least one CNG outlet. The idea of total electric transport is a little far-fetched at the moment.