The 43rd GST Council meeting that is underway after a gap of seven months, is being presided over by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman virtually. This meeting comes at a time when a number of states have been seeking a Council meeting to discuss key issues pertaining to GST rate cuts on supplies, etc.
Transporters expect that the Finance Minister will take up the major issue troubling the entire community- the issue of heavy penalties that has led to confusion, angst and losses on their part.
They want the FM to address the issue of heavy penalities on truck drivers due to expiry of E-way bill during transit.
Mahendra Arya, National President, All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA) voices his concerns and expectations from the meet.
“The issue of heavy penalties is our main concern, since we have been voicing how the compliances provided by the government are not compliable at all. Hence, there is a regular failure on the part of the transporters. The limit of 200km per day is not possible at all, since there are other time wastages involved. So if we consider everything together, then the trip cannot be completed”, he shares.
Mr Arya also mentions how there should have been the availability of an option to continue the trip even if the E-way bill expires.
“Once the e-way bill expires on the way, there is no way the trip can be continued. They have made it very difficult in that way, since ideally there should have been some kind of provision that upon payment of the penalty, the driver can continue the trip. There is no such option in that and in the end, you’re left at the mercy of the GST officers.”~ Mahendra Arya, National President, All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA)
He also shares that the AITWA had given the government an alternative to consider and believes they may be working on that.
“They have made toll payments mandatory by the RFID. Thus, they have the data point to capture the vehicle movement at all the toll points. This can be easily clubbed it with the E-way bill and it will reveal the locations of the vehicle, he amount of days it has taken during the journey. Thus, if the vehicle is found to be following the journey, it will come to the fore that there was nothing wrong with the movement”, he says while suggesting how to add more transparency into the issue.
The president also underlines the issue of high penalties, how it is sometimes almost twice the value of the goods that are being carried.
“A lot of people will have to close down their business with this kind of penalty.”~Mahendra Arya
“We have made enough presentations, we hope that today they discuss all these points in the meet”, Mr Arya concludes.
Transporters also expect the FM to take up the matter of high fuel prices that has been plaguing the transportation industry.