The auto sector on Wednesday sought removal of ‘speed breakers’ to their growth in form of government policies, while expressing disappointment at the slow pace of reforms and pitching for stable policies.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said the industry has been slowly turning around after witnessing a prolonged slowdown but “there are speed breakers” in the form of government policies, while calling for speedy implementation of Good and Services Tax.
“The auto industry is highly taxed with multiple excise duty rates from 12.5 per cent to 30 per cent,” SIAM President Vikram Kirloskar said at the annual convention of the industry body. He added that after additional state taxes, the overall cascading effect goes up to 84 per cent on vehicles.
“SIAM has been seeking for reduced taxation and was looking forward to GST but we are disheartened at the lack of political consensus on it…,” he added.
Dr R S Katoch, Secretary, Department of Heavy Industry agreed that the implementation of GST was a must for the industry and the scope of growth for the industry would increase manifolds if the tax structure was improved.
Meanwhile, Mr Kirloskar also called for stable policies, especially regarding emission norms. He said skipping Bharat Stage (BS) V and jumping straight to BS VI from BS IV would add extra burden to the auto industry and in turn to customers.
He added that once timelines for policies are fixed, it should not be subjected to ‘knee jerk’ reactions and change as that affects the entire supply chain.
Kirloskar, who is also the vice-chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motor, hit out at ‘environmental activism’, saying that the auto industry has been ‘unfairly targeted without sufficient data’.
Expressing similar disappointment at the lack of pace of reforms, Mahindra and Mahindra Executive Director and Group President Pawan Goenka said what has been “initially talked about by the new government, the pace to convert that into reality hasn’t been good”.
He added, “In terms of major reforms such as GST, not much is happening and one cannot be happy about it.” He further said there hasn’t even been a debate in Parliament in the Monsoon Session and major reforms like GSTand land acquisition bill are still pending.
Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) Senior Vice President Marketing and Sales, Rakesh Srivastava also said that clarity on issues such as GST, land acquisition and labour reforms are pre requisite for sustained industry growth.