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Editorial: Address the Truckers’ Demands For Sustained Growth

Port Wings, 01 August 2018:

The All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) on 20 June announced to go on an indefinite nationwide strike to protest against the government for various issues, including a demand to rationalise taxes on diesel and reduce its prices, in accordance with the international market.

The AIMTC, which holds the support of majority of transport unions across the country, said that 93 lakh trucks and other goods vehicles will stay off the roads across the country as a part of the agitation.

And when the agitation began, support for AIMTC was not only palpable, but forced the Government of India to derive new strategy to deal with the situation.

The unanimous decision to go for an indefinite ‘nationwide Chakkajam’ from 20 July was taken at the 205th meeting of the governing council of AIMTC.

Their main demands are –Reduction in diesel prices through tax cut by bringing it under GST, uniform pricing nationally and quarterly revision, Toll barrier-free India, Transparency and reduction in third-party insurance premium, Exemption of GST on TPP and abolish excess commission paid to agents through comprehensive policy, Abolition of TDS, rationalisation of presumptive income in section 44AE of Income Tax Act & E-way bill operational issues, National permit for buses and tourist vehicles, Abolition of Direct Port Delivery (DPD) tendering system, and  streamlining of port congestion.”

To avoid any issues, the AIMTC members on 19 July met Union Minister Piyush Goyal and Road & Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari at the Transport Bhavan in Delhi and held talks regarding the issue.

But, the meeting did not yield any tangible result that could have averted the nation-wide transportation strike.

With no option left, they launched their strike and on its 8th day, Government of India realized that they have to concede their ground for any amicable solution.

It may be noted that during October 2017, AIMTC went on a two-day nationwide strike to protest against the GST and rise in diesel prices. Likewise, in January 2009, AIMTC went on a eight-day nationwide strike. It was called off after the transport ministry agreed to not increase the toll taxes at national highways and promised to look into issues relating to national permits and rationalisation of taxes.

The truckers’ strike has affected every single person directly or indirectly involved in this business. It also hit the sale of non-perishable items. Eventhough the truckers have called off their strike now, it is for the Government of India to come out with a concrete solution to their demands or India will be witnessing one more nation-wide truckers strike in another few months.

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