Around 93 lakh truck operators have stopped operations in support of two-day strike called by All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC). The pan-India transporters' body has decided to cease operations over demands of simplifying the norms under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and checking increase in fuel prices, among other issues. The 36-hour strike also has the support of other transport bodies operating across the country, according to AIMTC.
Goods haul has taken a hit since the strike came into effect from 8:00 am today. Coming a few days ahead of Diwali, the strike is likely to increase prices of commodities across the country due to lack of supply. The transporters have cautioned that they will launch indefinite work stoppage across India if their demands are not met.
On post-GST confusion, AIMTC stated that the transport sector stands divided due to varied structure of the GST governing different verticals of goods transport. AIMTC stated in a press communique that the indirect tax regime has led to forced registration and unnecessary compliance by transporters which should be done away with. Transporters are also miffed that sale of used assets attract double taxation under the GST and want this provision of the GST to be scrapped.
The transport body also believes that the e-way Bill proposed under the tax regime to monitor movement of goods does not conform to the way transport sector functions and is impractical. The transporters have demanded that certified invoice of consignor should take the place of e-way bill. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had stated after the GST Council meet on Friday that the pilot launch of e-way bill in Karnataka has borne desired results and nationwide rollout will be started from January next year.
Another issue raised by AIMTC is the rise in diesel prices and the fuel being kept out of the GST. The transporters have demanded that taxes on diesel should be rationalised in accordance to international markets and on the basis of crude oil prices. They transport association has also called for inclusion of diesel in the GST for uniformity in prices across the country.
Fluctuations in diesel prices after daily price revision for petrol and diesel was implemented have driven business costs high, stated AIMTC. The transporters now want diesel prices to be revised on a quarterly basis.
The truckers also want challans without any electronically verifiable proof to be abolished along with other changes to minimise unwarranted harassment from officials - like repealing power given to officials to stop a transport mid-journey without a reason to believe or specific intelligence input.