With further rolling back of lockdown from June 1, more businesses activity is expected, giving a boost to e-way bill generation.
Economic activities seem to be attaining normalcy at the end of the May as e-way bill generation touched 11.4 lakh per day in the last week of the month, taking the daily average for the whole month to 8.2 lakh. This is nearly thrice the figure generated in April.
However, while e-way bill generation — which maps the cargo movement under the GST — has been rising every week in May since the complete lockdown was relaxed on May 4, the data for the whole month are still only half of February, the last full month before lockdown, when 19.2 lakh of such bills were generated on a daily basis.
In the three first three weeks of May, the daily generation was 9.4 lakh, 8.2 lakh and 6 lakh, respectively. E-way bills are required for GST-registered businesses to transport cargo if it exceeds Rs 50,000 in value. A government portal issues these receipts after relevant information (related to cargo, sender, recipient and vehicle for transport) is provided.
With further rolling back of lockdown from June 1, more businesses activity is expected, giving a boost to e-way bill generation. However, experts said given the paucity of labour in key economic pockets, the full recovery may yet be delayed.
“E-way bill data show that economic activity is at half-way mark compared with the pre-Covid period. Data on e-way bills, coupled with stock market indices, are also indicating that the economy has bottomed out and we are in V-shaped recovery mode,” Rajat Mohan, senior partner, AMRG & Associates, said.
The total e-way bills issued for April was 86 lakh, or only 2.9 lakh per day, as against 13.2 lakh in March. On April 3, the government had extended the validity of e-way bill that expire between March 20 and April 15 up to April 30. It was further extended to May 31. This also meant that new e-way bills during the lockdown period weren’t needed.
“Due to the obvious impact of the lockdown, a lot of stock was not able to reach the consumer market and the upcoming weeks post lockdown could see heavy write-off of perishable stock in books, clearance of old inventory at reduced prices as well as struggle to bridge the demand-supply gap with following repercussions on GST collections on business resuming post June 8,” Jigar Doshi, founding partner at TMSL, said.