Businesses, tax dept gear up; Karnataka, AP to be among the first States to adopt system
With less than a week left for the implementation of the much-delayed E-Way Bill across the country, tax officials and businesses seem to be well prepared this time around.
“The IT system is fully geared up for the E-Way Bill. It has been thoroughly checked and can handle a much higher load,” said Prakash Kumar, Chief Executive Officer, GST Network (GSTN), adding that it has also gone through multiple rounds of testing.
The software for the E-Way Bill is being developed by the National Informatics Company and is being monitored by the GSTN.
In an interview to BusinessLine, Kumar said the system has been designed to generate as many as 75 lakh E-Way Bills per day with a higher throughput between 4 pm and 9 pm, when the traffic is expected to be higher.
“We have also opened it up to GSPs and have given APIs to large transporters who have over two lakh transactions every month. This will allow them to directly create e-way bills in bulk,” he said.
However, the major challenge has been that no one has an estimate of the number of trucks and vehicles transporting cargo in the country on a daily basis. “We tried various sources and also highlighted it with the GST Council,” Kumar said.
The E-Way Bill, which is an electronic ticket for movement of goods worth over ₹50,000 for distances above 10 km as part of the Goods and Services Tax, will be rolled out for inter-State transport from April 1.
For intra-State movement of goods, the E-Way Bill system is expected to be introduced in a phased manner from April 15, according to the GST Council decision earlier this month. All States will be on board by June 1.
Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are expected to be among the first to introduce E-Way Bill for intra-State movement. “The country has been divided into four zones and depending on the preparedness of each State, they will roll out the E-Way Bill for intra-State movement in phases,” said another official.
The CBEC is understood to be in talks with commercial tax departments of States to work on the roll-out schedule.
The E-Way Bill had started on a trial basis from January 16 and was expected to be rolled out from February 1. However, it was deferred due to technical glitches on Day 1.
Meanwhile, after raising many concerns over possible delays and harassment, businesses too seem to have now become prepared for the E-Way Bill.
To address these worries, the CBEC had earlier this month notified amendments to the E-Way Bill rules relaxing several provisions such as allowing even job workers to generate these documents and providing for longer validity.
Industry players now say that many of their concerns have been addressed. Most businesses have also tried out generating E-Way Bills.
“Everyone is geared up. But what happens on April 1 and whether the system can take the load of lakhs of E-Way Bills being generated is the question. Also, we have to see how the ground-level implementation takes place,” noted an expert.
Welcoming the launch of the E-Way Bill, Anjani Mandal, Co-Founder and CEO of Fortigo, said: “It should not be delayed, but should be implemented uniformly across the country, including the date for implementation.”
While businesses are prepared for it, he, however, noted that instead of April 1, the E-Way Bill could have started from April 10 or 12 so that there is enough time for all shipments of the previous financial year to have left the factory and reached their destination.