The All India Motor Transport Congress has decided to not buy new trucks for the next six months following a sixty per cent slump in its business which it blames it on multiple government policies including 28 per cent goods and services tax (GST), 2 per cent cess on diesel, 2 per cent tax deduction at source (TDS) on cash withdrawals and the presumptive income tax taking into account the load capacity of trucks. The situation many say is so desperate that the industry wants a bailout package from the government.
Sale of commercial vehicles are already down, from 3,06,781units last year April-July to 2,65,164 units this year over same period according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
In the last month, only 56,866 commercial vehicles were sold and after this announcement many feel that too may stop.
The situation among truckers is turning desperate.
In Chennai for instance Vinoth Kumar has just put on hold his plans to add another vehicle to his fleet of four trucks.
His income per lorry is down by 70 per cent from Rs 1 lakh a month to just Rs 30,000. He says "Government has hiked insurance and tax. They've brought a new law and once enforced we have to just sell our vehicles. We can't buy any new vehicle."
In a yard in Chennai , hundreds of trucks lie idle.
The big players say this is now commonplace; moreover, many of them have defaulted on their loans. S Yuvaraj, president, Tamil Nadu State Sand Lorry Owners Federation says, "Go to any parking yard for every owner who has thirty trucks, at least ten to fifteen lie idle."
A V Mani, proprietor of SLS Transport added, "Since vehicles don't run, banks could give six to eight month time and waive interest to save the industry."
The industry wants a bail out.
"There should be reduction of GST on purchase of new and old trucks, spare parts and tyres. There should be exemption of GST on third party insurance. Presumptive income should be only levied on the carrying capacity of the vehicle and not the weight of the empty vehicle," Naveen Kumar Gupta, secretary general of All India Motor Transport Congress told NDTV.
The transport sector employs around five crore people. Just a few day s ago the auto industry said 3.5 lakh jobs have been laid off and no vehicle purchase call by the transport sector may only deepen the crisis.
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