After diesel tax, Gadkari takes U-Turn on mandatory 6 airbags [Video]

Nitin Gadkari made a comment on additional GST on diesel-powered vehicles only retracting from the statement after a few hours. On another occasion, the Minister of Road Transport and Highways reversed his decision to implement the mandatory 6 airbags in all Indian cars from 1st October 2023.

Initially, the Government of India made it mandatory for car manufacturers to offer six airbags even with the entry-level variants of the car. The new rules were expected to come into effect last year on 1st October 2022. However, the law was deferred by one year since the auto manufacturers were recovering from the pandemic.

Gadkari now says, “…now people are cautious. Whichever car has six airbags, people will prefer to take that car. It is up to the manufacturers and people to decide. Everyone is making it, don’t need to make it mandatory. We don’t want to make (six airbags rule) mandatory…”

All these efforts that were planned by the government were aimed at making cars bought by Indian customers a lot safer. The number of vehicles on the road was increasing every day, and so were the number of accidents.

The logic behind increasing the number of airbags in a car was to make it a lot safer for the occupants. The problem that manufacturers were going to face was the cost. Increasing the number of airbags in the car would directly impact the cost of these vehicles.

The prices were likely to go up by Rs 50,000. Many cars that were sold in India did not offer six airbags even in the top-end trim, so for them, the cost would have gone up even more as they would have had to make necessary changes to the shell and the interior trims to accommodate the curtain airbags.

Bharat NCAP coming to India

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, has officially launched a new safety assessment program set to take effect from October 1, 2023. It is, however, not a mandatory test.

Under this program, all cars will receive star ratings for both Adult Occupants (AOP) and Child Occupants (COP) based on their performance in tests aligned with the new safety standards. These star ratings will serve as a convenient reference for car buyers to compare the safety features of different models and inform their purchase decisions.

Car manufacturers and importers are required to submit an application using FORM 70-A to the government-designated agency as part of this new initiative. The assessment will evaluate car safety through tests such as the front impact, side impact, and side impact pole tests. Currently, electric vehicles (EVs) are not included in the BNCAP (Bharat New Car Assessment Program) protocol, but the government plans to incorporate green cars into the assessment process in the near future.

The government has also noted that several manufacturers have voluntarily submitted approximately 15-20 car models for evaluation under the Bharat NCAP program.

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