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.

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