Drivers – The Bleeding heart of Supply Chain

 July 21, 2018
As on date India has approx 25 lac trucks on road, and as per simple estimate we need 40 lac drivers to run those trucks. Unfortunately we don’t have that much drivers and lacs of trucks are idle this resulted into huge unseen loss.
Transportation is the backbone of any industry and indicates the growth ratio of a nation. While we can safely say that without drivers our business will hardly last unless and until we are blessed by a new state of the art technology which will lead to driving, loading and unloading without human intervention. While all those associated with the industry know the importance of having efficient drivers, a very few acknowledge the need of the same.
It is the will and the ability of those who are striving day in and out riding through  our not so healthy road and weather conditions and many other challenges without any such major help  that has helped all of us achieve a commendable market position and customer relation.
While having a conversation with my Canadian friend, I observed that they respect a job irrespective of the work and designation. The drivers there enjoy several perks ranging from highway bed services at good costs to limited hours of driving. This ensures that the physic of the driver is well maintained along with the life of the vehicle and safety of the goods as well. While the focus in Indian market lies on achieving maximum billed kms, the foreign market also focuses on the overall growth of their employees with their health at all levels.
To start with the Indian market we can initiate measures to enhance the comfort level of driver’s who are living far away from their family with facilities to provide good health and hygienic living conditions (eg. setting up a dorm with bunk beds, clean washrooms & basic medical facilities). This will further help the company retain the quality and trained drivers and reduce seepages. Further the remunerations and incentives are just not enough for them to take care of their family and have a provision for the future; hence the next generation is not so keen towards this profession.
While the scarcity of drivers are increasing there are no/few steps taken to motivate the youth to join the profession. These are the few steps we can take which can attract youth to join this profession.
      Open driving institute at district level with placement guarantee as they always say “ give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach him fishing you feed him for a lifetime.”
      Include driving in skilled development labor program initiated by honorable Prime Minister
Shri Narendra Modi. The syllabus should not only include driving skill but also includes personality development, behavioral etiquettes, public speaking etc.
       The main thing we need to do is to implement a dignity of labour across the nation as we all know a man works the entire day for his everyday meal and gaining some respect for himself in the society. Implementing this policy will definitely boost and attract the current as well as the future generation towards this profession.
      Uniform wages across the country.
      Street lights, clean washrooms, good restrooms better road conditions, shorter duty hours.
      Health care benefit for them and their family.
      Make mandatory to all Transport company to take out the PRADHAN MANTRI JEEVAN JYOTI BIMA YOJNA (Rs 330/- PA for life cover of Rs. 2 lac for their drivers) & ATAL PENSION YOJNA.
      Child education should be provided.
Above are few initiations which can help industry to find and retain more trained and experienced drivers.
While Indian GDP is growing at 7% pa, transport industry continues to show double digit growth rates. Approximately the industry purchased around 3 lakh units of trucks in the last fiscal, assuming 30% of them were replacement vehicles the other 70% vehicles directly and indirectly contributed towards employment generation. So as per the above assumption we can say that nearly 4 lac people were directly employed as drivers and further nearly 5 lac people are said to be benefitted from the entire process. So with this estimates we require anytime 4 lac drivers at any given point of time to run these many vehicles. Assuming continuing addition in the total number of trucks at a constant rate nearly 5 to 6 lakh additional jobs can be generated every year directly benefiting these families. This will ideally result in enhanced expenditure on consumption and thus resulting in higher tax collection for the government as well.
This is a profession which is the direct beneficiary as well as the direct sufferer from any new change. They are literally the eye of the country witnessing every change on ground zero as it is the only profession which allows you on the road for the entire 24 hours. By direct beneficiary or sufferer I mean to say that for eg. a new highway is built in place of a bypass road l, the driver is the direct beneficiary or else if the condition of the road worsens, he is the first person to suffer from that. Corruptions on road, road safety, condition of the roads are the few aspects of the country which are directly related to them and they have the best seat in the house in addressing that issue. We can use them as a great helper towards the nation by letting them report the various mishappening occurring on the roads which will help them garner a lot of respect which is actually the need of the hour from every citizen.
There is risk in this profession, nothing can be risk free but also no risk is greater than the risk of life. It is these brave hearts and their families who have helped people today develop our country. There are many mediums of transport but roadways form a major portion of everything be it passenger or goods and it is for the safety and security of these heroes that the Government and organizations need to take steps hand in hand to improve their standard of living. From giving safer roads to giving enough rest in between trips it’s all we need to do together as an industry.

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