The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has prohibited the production, importation, sale and storing of non-ISI helmets. Those who violate these laws risk imprisonment and/or penalties of up to Rs 5 lakh. The rules went into force on starting June 1. While this directive was issued in November 2018, detailed regulations for the same were laid out in 2019. All headgear sold in India now must fulfil the BIS quality guidelines -they must have an ISI certification from the Bureau of Indian Standards.
Penalties pertaining to Offenders
Offenders who violate these standards will face penalties under the Bureau of Indian Standards Act to dissuade them from doing so in the future. Anyone caught wearing an ISI sticker on a helmet that is not ISI-approved faces a punishment of up to Rs 5 lakh. Offenders caught producing, importing, selling, or storing non-ISI helmets will face a Rs 1 lakh fine as well as imprisonment for up to one year.
How is this ban affecting International Manufacturers?
This law also includes imported helmets that meet or surpass ISI criteria and correspond to international norms. While international-spec helmets are often deemed to be superior owing to thorough testing, the Indian government is seeking to support local manufacturers, thereby boosting the Make-In-India strategy. More jobs will be created in our market as a result of this, and exports of Indian-made helmets may increase on a greater scale. Reducing road accident mortality is also an important goal, with India-made helmets being less expensive than foreign ones. Few states have mandated two-wheeler manufacturers to give two helmets with each sale.
For example, Triumph, a British manufacturer, has ceased selling helmets in the nation entirely. When the discussion of banning non-ISI helmets began in late 2018, these dealerships were faced with unsold supplies of expensive helmets. Unsold inventory is certainly bad news, especially when a large sum of money is at play.
As things now stand, overseas producers would be required to certify their headgear to the Indian standard before they can be marketed in our country. While some may go forward with it, high-end companies that sell in small quantities here may not find it feasible. In this regard, the new rule does a significant injustice to the citizens of India who seek to provide their body with the finest protection money can buy.
Sidhartha Bhushan Khurana, Managing Director, Studds Accessories Ltd, sharing his insights on the matter said, “Ban on the manufacturing, import, sale, and storage of non-ISI helmets has been long due and was absolutely critical for the safety of the riders. Clamping down the sub-standard helmets will not just provide relief from disservice to the Indian citizen from the road hazards but will also support local manufacturers to further boost the Make-In-India strategy. Manufacturing helmets in the country would also make them more affordable for the everyday commute. Currently, only 65-70% of the industry encompasses the ISI Certified players and this move will open huge opportunities for the organised players giving a big boost by driving demand."
“Considering factors like more local manufacturers, affordability, switch to personal mobility post-COVID coupled with mandatory and increasing challans, we can expect a significant rise in the demand and number of helmet users in the coming months," he added.