The plan to introduce a more liberal national permit system for truckers to ease the inter-state movement of goods from the next month hasn’t come too soon. This will help accelerate the flow of freight and perhaps make a dent on food inflation levels. This step will ensure greater flexibility in the overall national trucking fleet, which is now saddled with national permits that only allow them to operate in a maximum of four contiguous states, including the home state. Though the annual permit costs will now be trebled, the gains in market access would ensure that the truckers are more than adequately compensated. But the new national permit rules will ease only one hurdle that hinders truckers who usually have to tackle at least seven different agencies to facilitate the smooth movement of goods. These include state tax agencies, regional transport officer, excise officials, regulated market committees, civil supplies agencies, forest officials and the department of geology and mining. Though some states have come up with single-point check posts to ensure simultaneous checks at one common point, the majority of the truckers still have to obtain clearances at different points, causing undue delays that push up freight costs.
Taking full advantage of superior quality roads and higher speeds on the newly built national highways would require that the number of agencies monitoring the movement of trucks—and, therefore, delays in inter-state movement—are reduced to the maximum extent possible. Expert estimates, in fact, show that the cost of delays due to the