In order to boost passenger safety, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways proposes to make it mandatory that an airbag be provided for the passenger seated on the front seat of a vehicle, next to the driver.

The proposed timelines for implementation are April 1, 2021 for new models and June 1, 2021 for existing models, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said in a statement.

A draft notification No GSR 797 (E), issued on December 28, 2020 to this effect has been published on the website of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

The ministry said all the stakeholders will be able to give comments/suggestions at the following email address: comments-morth@gov.in within 30 days from the date of the notification.

A media report quoted a senior official of the ministry as saying: “It is a major step towards road safety. Automobile manufacturers are already offering the option of dual front airbags and so they know the importance of this aspect. We now propose to make it mandatory across models and variants.”

The Federation of Automobile Dealers Association has welcomed the proposal stating.

The move is likely to increase the prices of vehicles.

The auto manufacturers have announced a hike from January next month with the rise in the cost of steel.

The passenger-side airbag in the entry-level cars could hike prices by as much as Rs 5,000 to Rs 8,000.

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