Gadkari seeks full I-T exemption for road safety donations

Concerned over India accounting for highest number of global road fatalities, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has sought 100% Income Tax exemption on donations made to undertake approved road safety programmes.

"Every year, thousands of people get killed in road accidents in India, which is a matter of grave concern. During 2012, about 1.38 lakh people were killed in around 5 lakh road accidents reported, resulting in economic losses to the tune of 2-3% of the GDP, apart from the social trauma," Gadkari said in a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

Seeking enhancement of exemptions to 100% on donations towards approved road safety programmes, Gakari said his Ministry had undertaken a slew of steps in collaboration with Ministries of Information, Health, HRD and Industry for curbing such accidents but that much more was needed.

"The gravity and enormity of the problem is such that much more needs to be done. It would be advisable to associate leaders from the industry, philanthropic organisations and individuals etc to partner and contribute towards road safety measures," he said in the letter.

Seeking Jaitley's 'personal indulgence in the matter' to save 'precious human lives', Gadkari, in the letter, sought enhancing the 'exemption on donations made towards an institution or fund for undertaking approved road safety schemes to 100% under section 80 GCA of the Income Tax Act on the analogy of family planning and prevention of HIV AIDS'.

Under the Income Tax Act, such donations at present get 50% tax exemption under section 80G.

Terming it an appropriate step, International Road Federation (IRF) has also urged the Finance Minister to include road safety in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) provisions in the recently revised Companies' Bill.

"Road Safety, despite its potential of being more dangerous than a deadly disease such as cancer, is still not being accorded the priority it deserves. This may kindly be included as one of approved activities under CSR," said Chairman IRF KK Kapila.

Annually, at least 1.40 lakh people get killed in road accidents in the country, which accounts for more than 10% of the total road fatalities across the world.

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