Relief to Narendra Modi government: E-way bill rollout smooth, but experts cautious


In a relief to the government, nationwide rollout of the electronic way (e-way) bill system for inter-state transport of goods, above a threshold value, went smoothly on Sunday, with multiple tax experts saying that their clients didn’t face any system glitch. However, they have cautioned that the system needed to be monitored for at least a week, as traffic intensity changes.

Karnataka was the only state which also notified the e-way bill system for moving goods within the state on Sunday, while other states are to follow the system in phases over the next one month .

The GST Network, IT backbone for GST, said that the designated platforms for generating e-way bills performed smoothly on Sunday. It stated that 1.71 lakh e-way bills had been generated from midnight on Saturday till 5 pm Sunday. This is much lower than daily average of 6-7 lakh e-way bill generated during the trial period since January 16.

E-way bill mechanism is one of crucial anti-evasion mechanism along with invoice-matching and reverse charge mechanism. Government officials estimate that its implementation could accrue nearly `10,000 crore in the monthly GST mop-up.

Abhishek Jain, Partner, EY said, “No major hiccups on the first day of the relaunch of the inter-state e-way bill system. The e-way bill portal seems to be much stable this time. However, it would be important to watch how the portal functions for few more days to be absolutely sure.”

GSTN said that nearly 11 lakh taxpayers had registered for e-way bill so far. However, the government had appealed to all taxpayers to register without delay rather than wait for the last day. Under e-way bill mechanism, businesses and transporters have to produce an e-way bill before a GST inspector for moving goods worth over Rs 50,000.

The registrants on the e-way bill portal are a fraction of of over one crore registered on GSTN. All taxpayers with the exception of some service providers would need to generate e-way bill to carry out businesses.

The e-way bill provision of GST was first introduced on February 1 after states complained of revenue shifting. However, its implementation was put on hold after the system developed glitches in generating permits. With several states starting to generate intra-state e-way bills on the portal, the system developed a snag.

Since then, the platform has been made more robust, so that it can handle load of as many as 75 lakh inter-state e-way bills daily without any glitch. The system has been designed and developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC). Karnataka as been using the e-way bill platform since September last year for intra-state movement of goods.

The GST Council, last month, had decided on a staggered rollout of the e-way bill starting with inter-state from April 1 and intra-state from April 15.


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