Transport sector not given its due in the budget: AITWA

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New Delhi, Mar 5 (UNI) With no reduction in excise duty on commercial vehicles, the All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA) has expressed its disappointment over the 'step motherly' treatment towards the sector in the budget 2008-09.

''While the excise duty on motorcycle, small cars, and even buses have been reduced in the budget, the duty on truck chassis have remained unchanged, particularly trucks, which keep the wheels of the economy moving,'' president (AITWA) Ramesh Agarwal said in a release.

Mr Agarwal added in the budget, quoting of PAN number has been increased from 70 per cent to 85 per cent. Because of this, at the time of deduction of TDS, the income tax authorities are insisting that the transport companies may hire only those trucks whose owners are having PAN numbers.

''The government has forgotten that 75 per cent owners own only single truck and 15-18 per cent owners own up to two trucks and as per Sec 44A (e) the income of a single truck has been notionally fixed at the rate of Rs 3500 per month. Thus who own upto two trucks do not come under the income tax slab, Mr Agarwal pointed out.

This point was put forward by Transport Industry and it was agreed by the government that no TDS shall be recovered from the owners of up to two trucks, therefore, they have not taken PAN number. Now, depriving them of the work for not having PAN number is causing lot of resentment among the owners of single/two truckers.

We have already suggested the government that the quoting of PAN number may be made mandatory requirement in the RC Book, till then the quoting of PAN numbers may be kept in abeyance for at least one year. This will not cause any revenue loss to the government, he added.

It further said that due to the rapid growth of the economy, the employment opportunities are increasing day by day in different parts of the country and the geographical boundaries are no longer barriers in matter of employment. Thus not only the government employees but the employees of the private sector also are regularly transferred from one place to another. For the safety of the goods during transit, the transporter is providing extra packing as well as arranging for loading and unloading.

''We are not charging any extra amount from the customers for these services as they are integral part of transportation services.

Hence bringing this 'packing and moving' sector under service tax net is discriminatory because the transportation of the household goods if carried by Railways is not under the service tax,'' Mr Agarwal said.

Also, withdrawl of CENVAT benefit is discriminatory and it should be restored immediately, he added.

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