After a largely smooth roll-out of the interstate electronic way bill — a mechanism to track cargo movement in the goods and services tax (GST) regime — from April 1, the government on Tuesday said five states would implement the scheme for intrastate transport as well, effective April 15.
After a largely smooth roll-out of the interstate electronic way bill — a mechanism to track cargo movement in the goods and services tax (GST) regime — from April 1, the government on Tuesday said five states would implement the scheme for intrastate transport as well, effective April 15. The states — Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh — together generated the bulk of interstate bills since its roll-out on April 1. In Karnataka, the e-way bill system has been in place since April 1 for both interstate and intrastate transport.
The e-way bill is a crucial anti-evasion measure, which is expected to plug revenue leakages of Rs 10,000 crore in business-to-consumer transactions.
Earlier, the GST Council had to suspend a plan to roll out the system in February as the IT system crashed owing to more-than-estimated traffic.
The council then decided to defer e-way bill implementation for interstate transport to April 1 and roll out the system for interstate movement of goods in a staggered manner. “Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala together accounted for 61% of e-way bills generated in the country till April 9,” said Prakash Kumar, CEO of GST Network, the IT backbone of the system.
Experts said that bringing in states that generated the bulk of e-way bills upfront will allow the system to gauge the load on the system and prepare for the next phase. Abhishek Jain, tax partner, EY India, said: “Since the interstate e-way bill generation introduced on April 1 has been working smoothly on the portal, the government has been encouraged to launch intrastate e-way bills for five states from April 15. The strategy of phase-wise introduction of e-way bill and testing the load capacity of the e-way bill portal gradually has worked well for the government.”
Under this system, e-way bills must be carried by transporters for the movement of goods which have a value of Rs 50,000 and above beyond 10 km. The bills can be generated by any of three entities — the supplier, recipient or the transporter.
In the first nine days, the system churned out over 60 lakh e-way bills. After the crash in February, the system was augmented to generate 75 lakh e-way bill a day. The implementation of the nationwide e-way bill mechanism under the GST regime was assigned to the National Informatics Centre (NIC) by the government.
“Barring a few exceptions the e-way bill portal has been stable so far. Transporters though are facing some challenges which hopefully will be resolved soon. The government has succeeded with the interstate infrastructure and we hope the same will be replicated with the intrastate roll out as well; volume load will be assessed and taken care of,” said ClearTax founder and CEO Archit Gupta.