Truckers went on a two-day strike in early October with a demand to include diesel fuel in GST. Protesting against the disruptive policies under GST and the inclusion of diesel in GST, truckers, claim industry sources, have not been happy with the government’s decision to review fuel prices every day. Sources draw attention to truckers complaining that the number of challenges they have come to face after the implementation of GST are actually more than they faced earlier. There’s utter confusion and chaos, they state, due to varied policies under GST that have been imposed on the road transport sector.
With fuel and toll accounting for 70 per cent of a truck’s operating cost, truckers, sources say, are of the opinion that there should be uniformity of fuel pricing across the country. Out of the ambit of GST, petrol and diesel continue to be heavily taxed by the central government as well as the state governments. The inability of transporters to lift goods from unregistered users (many SMEs continue to grapple with GST) since it would require them to pay GST on their behalf under Reverse Charge Mechanism (RCM) a drop in business is said to have been the case. Transporters can avail Forward Charge (FCM) where they need to pay 12 per cent GST but claim full input credit. Claimed sources that the laws in the GST regime are leading to coercive registration and unnecessary compliances by truckers and transporters. With hardly any change in travel time post GST, truckers and bus owners are said to be planning an indefinite strike for a toll gate-free India. India has 371 toll plazas.