2018 will be the year of elections in India ahead of big 2019 Lok Sabha polls. BJP will want to fine tune its strategy while Rahul Gandhi is aiming to pass the Karnataka the state where Congress is the ruling party. It has been learnt that Karnataka’s e-billing project has emerged as a showcase model for the NDA government to pilot a crucial Goods and Services Tax (GST) billing project. This bill that is to be replicated nationwide to plug revenue leakages in the new indirect tax regime.
This comes as the monthly revenue from GST has slipped way below the targeted level of Rs 91,000 crore since October, a worried central government and many BJP-ruled states have turned to Karnataka for dispelling concerns raised by traders regarding the electronic way bill or e-way bill system. The system offers the technological framework to track intra-state as well as inter-state movement of goods of value exceeding Rs 50,000 for sale beyond 10 km.
When a call was taken in October by the GST Council to defer the rollout of the e-way bill, owing to concerns related to the functioning of the GST Network portal, Karnataka had suggested the rollout of the e-way bill system from one state before it is extended to 4-5 states ahead of a nationwide launch.
Karnataka had operationalised the e-way bill system on September 12, 2017, using the information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure available with the state. Before the rollout, the e-way bill system was designed, developed and tested by the state during August 2017 in partnership with the National Informatics Centre (NIC), which has been assigned the project.
When contacted by The Indian Express, Karnataka’s Agriculture Minister and representative in GST Council Krishna Byre Gowda said, “The e-way bill system has been implemented in Karnataka since September 2017. Earlier, we had a similar system under the VAT regime, too. More than 1 lakh eway bills are generated every day in the system. A number of awareness and capacity building steps have been undertaken to sensitise traders, transporters as well as department officials in order to implement the e-way bill system in a smooth manner. About 1,20,000 dealers are registered under the system and around 947 transporters are also registered.”
Karnataka had been running a version of the e-way bill called e-SUGAM (Simple Uploading of Goods Arrival and Movement) since 2011 for state VAT before the July 1 introduction of GST. The e-SUGAM facility has been withdrawn by the state’s commercial taxes department since September 24 last year.