Centre proposes to defer e-way bill under GST citing lack of software

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Centre proposes to defer e-way bill under GST citing lack of software:-

  • GST rollout, the Centre is in favour of postponing by a few months the implementation of the e-way bill, which requires movement of good above Rs 50,000 to be to pre-registered online.
  • The GST Council agreed to rope in National Informatics Centre (NIC) to work along with GST-Network to assess if an all India e-way bill system can be created in a short time-frame
  • The GST Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising of representatives of all states, had in April come out with the draft e-way bill rules that made it necessary for any movement of goods, within or outside the state, having value of more than Rs 50,000 to be registered with the GST-Network (GSTN) website.
  • GSTN would generate e-way bills that will be valid for 1-15 days, depending on distance to be travelled — one day for 100 km and 15 days for more than 1,000 km transit. The tax officials can inspect the ‘e-way bill’ anytime during the transit to check tax evasion
    Industry however has expressed concerns over this saying that the Rs 50,000 limit was too low and that the timeline for completion of transport operation was “impractical and removed from reality”.
  • They also felt that the e-way bill would be applicable to movement of all kinds of goods without making any distinction between goods that were evasion prone or not.
  • June 3 meeting of the GST Council, the Centre contended that GSTN will be busy in the first three months of GST rollout as it has to ensure that technology backbone for the new indirect tax regime is working fine and hence would take about 6 months to build the platform for ‘e-way bill’.
  • The Centre also said that feedback from the industry was yet to be examined by the law committee and hence finalisation of rules would take sometime.
  • Stating that the GSTN can start developing the software only after finalisation of rules and forms, the Centre suggested that the “implementation of the ‘e-way bill’ system could be postponed by a few month” .
  • States like West Bengal, Kerala, Bihar, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh stated that they already had a robust e-way bill system, which should be continued as reverting to hand bills would lead to “considerable loss of revenue”.
  • The GST Council then decided to defer a decision on the e-way bill system and entrusted the GSTN to check from the NIC whether they could develop a e-way bill system in a short time frame, during the last three decades, NIC has implemented many network centric application software for Programme implementation in various ministries and departments.
  • The draft e-way bill rules provide that the person in- charge of conveyance will be required to carry the invoice or bill of supply or delivery challan, and a copy of the e-way bill or the e-way bill number, either physically or mapped to a Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) embedded on to the conveyance.