E-way bill trial run today; system can handle up to 50 lakh bills per day

GST meet: E-way bill, composite scheme on agenda

In a bid to bring uniformity across the states for seamless inter-state movement of goods, the government is set to implement the electronic way bill or e-way bill system from February 1. E-way bill is a system generated bill which every transporters, exceptions in some cases, will have to carry to move the goods from one place to another. These electronic bills can be generated from the GSTN portal. The e-way bill system was introduced under the Goods and Services Tax , but couldn’t be implemented earlier as the required IT infrastructure wasn’t in place. Last month, the GST Council decided to implement the e-way bill mechanism throughout the country from February 1. In a notification released earlier this month, the GSTN informed the transporters that E-way bill would become mandatory for inter-state movements of goods from February 1, 2018. It further said that the nationwide e-way bill system would be ready to be rolled out on a trial basis by January 16.

Ahead of the trials on e-way bill generation, which start today, GST Network CEO Prakash Kumar talked to BusinessToday.in and explained the system’s preparedness and infrastructure capabilities to handle the transition. He said that the e-way bill system is designed to handle around 50 lakhs e-way bills per day. The GSTN expects 10 lakh bills for interstate and 35-40 lakh bills for intra-state. The software for the new system has been developed by the government’s premier science and technology organisation: National Informatics Centre. While, the GSTN owns the software, it will be run and operated by the NIC. “NIC is data centre we are using here, like bandwidth we are paying for the connectivity,” Kumar said adding that “the main data centre is in Delhi”. He also informed that the development of infrastructure for E-way bill system has cost Rs 40 crore to the government.

Speaking on the data protection issues, the GSTN CEO said: “None of us has any accessibility to any individual tax payers data. Tax payers’ data can only be accessed by two people, the taxpayer himself and tax officer. In case of any investigation, then investigation team can take approval of a senior officer and then they will see that data. They can only see.” When asked whether the government was taking any measure to simplify or streamline the whole process of filling the tax, he said that a committee headed by GSTN Chairman Dr AB Pandey with members from both centre and state was working on it. “The Committee will submit the report to the council,” he said.

In the notification, the GSTN also stated that while the system for both inter-state and intra-state e-way bill generation will be ready by January 16, the states may choose their own timings for implementation of e-way bill for inter-state movement of goods on any date before June 1. There are certain states which are already having system of e-way bill for intra-state as well as inter-state movement. Some of these states can adopt national e-way Bill system early for intra-state movement as well. “In any case uniform system of e-way bill for inter-state as well as intra-state movement will be implemented across the country by June 1,” the GSTN notification had said.


What is e-way bill?
E-way bill is an electronic document generated on the GST portal evidencing movement of goods. Every registered person who causes movement of goods (which may not necessarily be on account of supply) of consignment value more than Rs 50000 is required to furnish the details of GSTIN of recipient, place of delivery, invoice or challan number and date, value of goods, HSN code, transport document number (Goods Receipt Number or Railway Receipt Number or Airway Bill Number or Bill of Lading Number) and reasons for transportation and transporter details (Vehicle number).

Who should generate it and why? 
E-way bill can be generated by the consignor or consignee himself if the transportation is being done in own/hired conveyance or by railways by air or by Vessel. If the goods are handed over to a transporter for transportation by road, the bill will be generated by the transporter. Where neither the consignor nor consignee generates the e-way bill and the value of goods is more than Rs.50,000 it shall be the responsibility of the transporter to generate it.

Purpose of e-way bill
E-way bill is a mechanism to ensure that goods being transported comply with the GST Law and is an effective tool to track movement of goods and check tax evasion.

Validity of e-way bill
The validity of e-way bill depends on the distance to be travelled by the goods. For a distance of less than 100 Km the e-way bill will be valid for a day from the relevant date. For every 100 Km thereafter, the validity will be additional one day from the relevant date. The “relevant date” shall mean the date on which the e-way bill has been generated and the period of validity shall be counted from the time at which the e-way bill has been generated and each day shall be counted as twenty-four hours.

What if goods cannot be transported within the period?
In general, the validity of the e-way bill cannot be extended. However, Commissioner may extend the validity period only by way of issue of notification for certain categories of goods. Further, if under circumstances of an exceptional nature, the goods cannot be transported within the validity period of the e-way bill, the transporter may generate another e-way bill after updating the details again.

Cases where e-way bill is not required 
According to CBEC, there are some exceptions to e-way bill requirement. It said: “No e-way bill is required to be generated in the cases where goods being transported by a non-motorised conveyance; goods being transported from the port, airport, air cargo complex and land customs station to an inland container depot or a container freight station for clearance by Customs; and when Consignment value is less than Rs 50,000 among others.”


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