Fuel cess, TDS on large cash payouts bid to destroy truckers and get foreign players in, says an industry body.
A national truckers body has accused the Modi government of trying to destroy them given the Budget proposals to impose Re 1 cess on diesel and 2 per cent TDS on cash withdrawals of over Rs 1 crore.
The All-India Motor Transport Congress also alleged that there is a move to make way for foreign players into the industry through such moves.
“The hike of Re 1 in diesel cess (and on petrol) and levy of 2 per cent TDS (tax deducted at source) on withdrawal of cash of over Rs 1 crore in a year will further cripple the transport sector.
“The transport sector is cash-based and has already been reeling under many other issues," the chairman of its core committee Bal Malkit Singh said.
Delivering her maiden Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman citied the softening crude prices as the reason for slapping a Re 1 cess on each litre of diesel and petrol.
"I propose to increase the special additional excise duty and road and infrastructure cess of Re 1 a litre on petrol and diesel," she said.
The move to slap 2 per cent TDS on cash withdrawals is part of a wider strategy to discourage the use of cash in the economy, she said.
Singh termed the moves as "a systematic plan to destroy" the domestic transporters, a majority of whom own up to five trucks each.
"The insensitivity to this sector is not new but the new finance minister was expected to be more considerate given the faith reposed by more than 15 crore road transport fraternity in the Modi government," he said.
Singh also called for necessary amendments in the Finance Bill to take care of the transporters concerns.
In the budget speech, Sitharaman termed connectivity as the "lifeblood of an economy" and enlisted a slew of initiatives undertaken by the government including PM's rural roads scheme, industrial corridors, dedicated freight corridors, Bhartamala and Sagarmala projects, Jal Marg Vikas and the Udan scheme.
Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters