Vehicle registrations on the upswing in Karnataka
440% increase in State from April to Aug.; however, only 220 buses were registered during the period
The Transport Department, which saw its revenue drop during the months that Bengaluru and other parts of the State were under lockdown on account of COVID-19, is finally showing signs of recovery. This is reflected in the registration of new vehicles, which increased by 440% across Karnataka from April to August.
When lockdown rules were strictly in force, only 17,188 new vehicles were registered in April. This doubled in May to 37,851, but still remained low. However, registrations rose considerably to 92,291in June, and 93,847 in August.
“In August, the department managed to achieve 78% of the revenue target fixed by the State government. Every month, we have a target of ₹551 crore,” said Transport Commissioner N. Shivkumar. He added that the revenue target achieved was 60% in July and 66% in June.”
Data from the department shows that in the first 15 days of September, 40,818 vehicles were registered across Karnataka, including 30,377 two-wheelers and 5,852 cars.
The bulk of the registrations are for two-wheelers. Between April and August, a total of 3.2 lakh new vehicles were registered in the State, out of which 2.47 lakh were two-wheelers and 41,289 were cars.
Moreover, registration of new passenger transportation vehicles such as buses and taxis have remained considerably low. During this period, only 220 buses were registered. In May, not even one new bus was registered across Karnataka.
“Usually, the number of vehicle registrations increases during festival season such as Dasara and Deepavali. We are hoping that the trend continues this year too,” said a department official.
However, while revenue from registration is picking up, taxes collected from transport operators have remained low. Nataraj Sharma, general secretary of the Karnataka State Tourist Operators Association, said, “Every year, we used to pay ₹3,200 crore as tax to the exchequer. After the spread of the pandemic and non-cooperation by the State government, many operators decided to surrender the documents and not to operate the vehicles to minimise their losses.”
He estimated that more than 35,000 buses have remained off the road. “Repeated pleas to waive the tax for six months were ignored. The government is doing nothing for the revival of our business. I think they are happy with the revenue collection they are getting from the newly registered vehicles,” he added.
Recently, the State government took a decision to lower taxes applicable for contract carriage vehicles (having seating capacity of 13 to 20). The tax per seat was reduced from ₹900 to ₹700.