E-way bill stands for Electronic Way Bill. It’s a unique bill number which is generated for the specific consignment which involves the movement of goods whose value is above 50 thousand rupees.
The Common Goods and Services Tax Electronic Portal for furnishing electronic way bill is www.ewaybillgst.gov.in. Even unregistered tax payers can generate E-way bill by registering themselves under enrolment for citizens.
Earlier person causing movement of good had to be equipped with various documents like invoice, challan, road permits, way bill and more which was needed to be produced at the check post of most states for inspection. In certain states it was mandatory for the transporter to obtain transit pass or declaration form.
From 2018, significant efforts were made by various states to digitalize the procedure involved in the movement of goods like e-sugam in Karnataka or Form 402 in Gujarat. These forms are based on the worth of goods and distance. It is needed to be filled and uploaded on the online portals which leads to the generation of Unique reference number. This number is quoted at the check-post which made business easy and saves lot of time.
The recommendations regarding e-way bill made in the 26th GST council meeting lists out as following:
1.E-way bill for interstate movement of goods to become mandatory w.e.f. 1st April 2018 as per amended E-Way bill rules 2018. The whole country shall be divided into 4 regions for the purpose ofintrastate E-way bill. Each region to have mandatory intrastate E-way bill system on a gap of weekly basis so that e-way bill system will be introduced in all the regions w.e.f. a date to be announced in a phased manner but not later than 01st June, 2018.
4.At present there is norequirement to generate e-way bill where an individual consignment value is less than Rs. 50,000/-, even ifthe transporter is carrying goods of more than Rs. 50,000/- in a single conveyance.
7.Electronic way bill is valid for 1 day for 100 km and additional 1 day for each 100 km or part thereof thereafter. But in case of over dimensional cargo, 100 km shall be substituted with 20km. 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 the period expiring at midnight of the day immediately following the date of generation of e-way bill.
8.The person in charge must carry required documents like invoice, delivery challan or other prescribed documents for verification.If any information relating to tax evasion or any other malpractice comes in notice there can be physical verification of the goods. It is to be noted that oncegoods are verified, the same shall not be re-verified for the rest of journey.
10.Transporter can post queries on the GSTIN portal if their vehicle is detained without any valid reason for more than 30 minutes.
IMPACT ON THE INDUSTRY
The e-way bill looks easy to follow but the fact is, the whole process will be done online, ensuring that every transporter both in small and big towns knows how to use GSTIN portal with ease.
Internet connectivity in India has always a yawning gap between cities and small town and villages. So there is no guarantee that transporters will be able to use the GSTN portal to address their complaint while on road.
E-Commerce retailers use several modes of transport as they ensure that the goods reach their required destination from warehouse to the customer. So from now they have to potentially generate large number of bills for every shipment due to this.
Many times customers cancel their orders when the goods are in transit or return goods already purchased. For this each time fresh e-way bill will be generated.
To implement E-way bill flawlessly, government will have to take care of technological aspects such as internet coverage and e-literacy. It’s a huge transition from pen-paper to online documentation and most importantly e-way bills have the potential to reshape the logistics industry and make it faster and easier.
The author of the Article is CA Vineet Gupta, Managing Partner AKGVG & Associates New Delhi.