Indian cycling enthusiasts have taken the matter up with Union Government including Ministry of Finance. If considered, the move pushes for reduced import tariffs and barriers since bikes positively effect the environment.
As per WTO driven agreement among countries, in 2012 it was agreed to reduce tariffs to 5 pct or less by 2015 on 54 green product categories. These include solar panels, gas and wind turbines, soot removers and catalytic converters. WTO will soon have another new round of negotiations in regards to adding product categories to Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA). Mahendra Awasthi, AIBPF convenor says bicycles are on top of agenda to be listed as a green good.
Bicycling goes hand in hand with energy savings and relief to urban congestion. Use of cycles remains an undisputed zero-emissions form of transportation that offsets emissions resulting from other commuting methods.
Karan Zombade, Secretary AIBPF, based in Pune says bicycles and bicycle parts attract high import tariffs in India, and don’t necessarily protect any significant domestic manufacturing. Instead, the arrangement imposes extra, unnecessary costs to those purchasing. Imposing 30 pct import duty is a senseless move by the govt. He opines protection policies has never helped manufacturers improve their products, and cited examples of Hindustan Motors and Fiat when they were protected.
A Delhi cycling enthusiast thinks bicycles which are a pollution free transport mode and great for outdoor exercise should not be subject to high import duty.
Indian cycle market is huge (about 17 million units per year). Owing to protective barriers and cheap price points, India has manufactured easy to engineer working class bicycles all along. Resultantly, light frames and gears didn’t enter mass production. Now, when Indian manufacturers offer alloy, aluminium or carbon fibre-bikes, a large number of them sport imported parts (gears, rims, tyres, shock absorbers).
While production remains high, Indian cycle manufacturers have no brilliance to show for it. Moving away from tariff protection, cycle manufcaturers should study, compete and grow.says another cycling enthusiast, Nitin Sharma.