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Is India prepared for e-way bill? (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS mains paper III)

Businesses and transporters are sceptical about the successful roll-out of the GST e-way bill system, scheduled from 1 April.

Reason cited
1. Though the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), the firm handling the backbone of GST regime, has said that e-way bill generation capacity has been ramped up to handle 7.5 million such bills a day, but businesses remain apprehensive.

“The number of e-way bills that need to be generated may be much higher than 75 lakh. Around 70 lakh trucks are used for transport of goods and each truck may carry multiple consignments that will need e-way bills,” said Abhishek Gupta, office-bearer at Bombay Goods Transport Association (BGTA), adding that many practical issues remain.

2. The anxiety also stems from the fact that the e-way bill system may not adequately address the actual ways of doing business on the ground, in addition to adding to the cost of compliance.

About e-way bill
While e-way bills will come into force in the entire country for inter-state shipment of goods from 1 April, intra-state movement of goods is expected to come under this system over time. States like Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat are expected to make e-way bills compulsory for goods movement within their states from 15 April, followed by others in the next phase.

E-way bill is one of three tools for tackling tax evasion under the GST regime, along with invoice matching and the requirement of large businesses sourcing products and services from micro and small businesses, to collect taxes from them and pay to the government on their behalf under a “reverse charge mechanism”. Invoice matching and reverse charge mechanism are still to be implemented.

What is e-way bill?
Under the e-way bill system, goods worth more than Rs. 50,000 have to be pre-registered online before they can be moved from one state to another. An e-way bill is an electric-way bill for the movement of goods which can be generated on the GSTN (common portal). After the implementation of this bill, any movement of goods of more than Rs 50,000 in value cannot be made by a registered person without an e-way bill. It will be allowed to be generated or cancelled through SMS.

When an e-way is generated, a unique e-way bill number (EBN) is allocated and is available to the supplier, recipient, and the transporter.

(Adapted from Live Mint)



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