Nearly 40, 000 trade associations, representing eight crore traders of the country, has extended support to the Bharat bandh call by Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on February 26, demanding a review of the provisions of the goods and services tax (GST) regime. The All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA), an apex body of the organised road transportation companies, has also decided to support CAIT in the Bharat bandh demanding abolition of the new E-Way Bill or scrapping of certain rules. It has also urged the government to abolish E-Way Bill and track vehicles by using Fast Tag connectivity to E-Invoice and to scrap the penalty on transporters for any time-based compliance target of transit and make diesel prices uniform across the country. 

On extending support to the bandh, AITWA National President Mahendra Arya said, “All state level-transport associations have confirmed their support to AITWA in this one-day non-operation of transport in protest of the fuel price hike and scrapping of new E-way bill laws introduced by Government of India.”

“AITWA demands abolishing the E-way bill as the newly introduced E-invoice is good enough for preventing tax evasion. Vehicles may be tracked by the Government using Fast Tag connectivity to E-invoice. Transporters should not be subject to any penalty by the Government for any time-based compliance target of transit,” said Arya.

“Diesel prices should be reduced and mechanisms need to be discussed and created with the Transport Industry for future regulation. Diesel prices should be equalized across the length and breadth of the nation,” Arya added.

Earlier on Sunday, CAIT wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising issues related to the GST regime, and alleging violation of e-commerce rules by major e-tailers.

In its letter to the prime minister, CAIT called for setting up of a “special working group” at the central level comprising senior officials, CAIT representatives and independent tax experts to review the GST structure and make recommendations to the government. It also suggested that a “District GST working Group” may be constituted in each district to monitor smooth GST implementation and to take steps for widening of tax base and augmentation of revenue.

In the letter, CAIT said that a few recent amendments in GST have given “arbitrary and unfettered powers” to the government officials.

It said this goes much against the PM’s mission for ”minimum government, maximum governance”, and these amendments have created a state of ”tax terrorism” in the country.

Announcing the Bharat Bandh last week, CAIT said dharnas (protests) will be held nationwide in 1,500 places demanding the Centre, state governments and the GST Council to keep in abeyance the “draconian” provisions of GST.

CAIT Secretary-General Praveen Khandelwal said, “All commercial markets across the country will remain closed and protest dharnas will be organised in different cities of all states.” He also added that along with CAIT, over 40,000 traders associations across the country will support the Bandh.