Logistics Worst Hit By Corruption
No other industry suffers like logistics that loses extortionate amounts of time and money in ‘unofficial’
payments to authorities, writes Pamela Cheema.
Corruption has become endemic in India and is now a cancer in the body politic. Seen in this perspective, Anna Hazare’s movement for a powerful Jan Lokpal bill acquires totemic significance. The logistics industry suffers equally from corruption and with Anna Hazare’s campaign having been transformed into a people’s movement, LW from this issue has embarked upon a campaign to highlight issues of corruption that logistics operators face while serving our companies and consumers across the length and breadth of the country.
According to a joint study report by TCI and IIM-C, the Indian trucking sector contributes to about 4.5 percent of the GDP. But the performance of this sector has been severely constrained by the filling in of various government forms, checking of vehicles and collection of highway toll and taxes by RTO and the traffic police. Says Vineet Agarwal, Joint MD, Group TCI: “Very often trucks run on tight schedules and despite the fact that they have all the documents, end up paying bribes to officials to minimize procedural formalities. Sample data from the Delhi-Chennai route show that delays constituted 10.43 percent of transit time and unofficial payments were 19.4 percent of the total expenses on the road.”
Problems are further exacerbated by poor roads and innumerable check posts on highways which lead to an avoidable waste of time and spiraling costs. Sunil Kale, Honarary General Secretary, Bombay Goods Transport Association, is vociferous in his condemnation of corruption in the industry. “Truckers face the brunt in every place. We have observed that there is no transparency when contracts are given to build highways. Contractors are allowed to recover their money by levying tolls in perpetuity. What we want is transparency in contracts, investigate the BOT contracts and give us amenities on the highways like parking places, food courts and police patrolling.”
Anshuman Basu, Regional Executive Director, Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), feels strongly “that we should not be concerned with anything other than providing services in the most ethical way.”
For every section of society and industry to prosper, corruption must be rooted out and the Jan Lokpal bill could be the starting point for a long battle to safeguard our future.