Notwithstanding some teething troubles, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is saving trucking time on trunk routes, connecting top cities, between 24-36 hours besides saving the fleet owners Rs 5,000 - Rs 7,500 per trip by way of corruption at the octroi and sales tax/VAT check posts which have since been dismantled by most of the states, an Assocham quick check report has noted.
“Our quick check has shown that on an average a lorry/truck runs for 10-12 hours a day and should cover a distance of about 2,200 KMs between, say Delhi - Chennai in 3 days. However, traversing through different states and braving the stoppages at several check posts of VAT, octroi, other local taxes was resulting in additional two-3 days, including those taken for "no entry'' traffic restrictions for big cities during the day time. So, the consignment between Delhi-Chennai, for instance was taking 5-6 days. At least 24-36 hours would easily be saved for these trunk routes after dismantling of the check posts, by a conservative estimate," said the ASSOCHAM QC after interacting with the fleet owners and transport intermediaries.
Besides, the bigger nuisance of corruption at each of the check posts and through various states would have meant an additional expenditure of Rs 5,000- Rs 7,500 per trip. "Thankfully, that has also been done away and one hopes a new avatar is not found for the same. For now, it has come as a big relief for the transporters who say, the ultimate advantage is accruing to the customers and to the trade and manufacturing value supply chain".
The interaction with the fleet owners revealed that before start of a trip, the crew, comprising driver(s) and helpers was given "out of pocket" or "petty cash" of at least Rs 10,000 for the trunk routes of Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Kolkata, Mumbai-Jaipur, Ahmedabad-Delhi, Bengaluru- Delhi and so on.
On completion of the trip, the driver would give his account "hissab" that would include the expenses at each of the forced halt points.
"What a relief, it is.... We hope, further improvement is done in this direction in terms of improving other infrastructure. For instance, the "no entry" traffic restrictions can be done away if high class dedicated bye-passes are constructed around the major cities so that the truckers can play seamlessly", said Assocham Secretary General DS Rawat.
Improvement in freight movement through road and rail would not only result in a huge cost saving for the trade and industry but would take India quite high on the global index of Ease of Doing Business.
"One hopes that the GST is implemented in earnest by all the states in coordination with the Centre and comes out as a success story for the country", the chamber said.