E-way bill system: Hunt for an IT partner on the way

The Goods and Services Tax Network has placed the draft RFP for public feedback to hire a Managed Service Provider for developing backend

Written by Aanchal Magazine , Pranav Mukul | New Delhi | Updated: May 30, 2017 2:00 am
gst, gst bill, goods and services tax, economy news, business news The enforcement of the key e-way bill, however, is likely to get delayed by at least six months from the GST rollout date. Illustration: Subrata Dhar

Even as the draft rules of key e-way bill for the goods and services tax (GST) await approval from the GST Council, the GST Network (GSTN) has placed the draft request for proposal (RFP) for hiring a Managed Service Provider (MSP) in public domain for feedback. The GSTN, which already is in partnership with Infosys to develop its system, aims to hire a MSP to design, develop, implement and maintain the e-way bill system for five years from the Go Live date on turnkey basis. The window for feedback for the draft RFP will remain open till June 7.

The enforcement of the key e-way bill, however, is likely to get delayed by at least six months from the GST rollout date. The e-way bill has been proposed to track intra-state and inter-state movement of goods of value exceeding Rs 50,000, with tax officials having the powers to check the bill at any point during transit to check evasion.

Under the proposed IT system for e-way bill, the new IT partner will develop the backend for 25 states/UTs, while the states such as Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Haryana, Goa and the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) will develop their backend systems on their own.

The new initiative for e-way bill aims to establish a standard interface for the taxpayer, along with a common and shared IT infrastructure between the Centre and the states. Currently, the Centre and the states’ indirect tax administrations work under different laws, regulations, procedures and formats and consequently the IT systems work as independent silos, the draft RFP states. The e-way bill system aims to integrate the transit pass ecosystem (e.g: E-Suvidha, E-Sugam, Transaction Pass, E-Sancharan, Form LL, Transit pass etc. of various states) so as to bring all the tax administrations (the Centre, states and union territories) to the same level of IT maturity with uniform formats and interfaces for taxpayers and other external stakeholders, it said.

The new IT infrastructure envisages to fully unify the system into an online system and enable paperless movement to track and monitor movement of goods across various states along with improving service delivery with quick turnaround time for the entire supply chain.

The e-way bill system needs data to be submitted by the supplier under GST and it will have many more users like transporters and logistics providers over and above the users under the GST system. Given that there will be a close nexus between data provided for generation of e-way bill and GST return and the fact that e-way bill will replace the existing system of generating way bills/ declarations/ transit pass as per the state VAT/ entry tax laws, the new system will need to be closely linked with the GST system.

Last week, GSTN chairman Navin Kumar had told The Indian Express that until the new rules for the e-way bill come into force, possibly around December, the existing system of transit permits for inter-state transfer of goods will continue. The GSTN is awaiting finalisation of e-way bill rules by the GST Council to proceed with the infrastructure-related work, including selection of an IT partner. “We are working on the proposal. We will float that. By the time people have to submit their bids, the rules should be there. We are keeping everything ready. As soon as rules are given to us, we will invite the applications,” Kumar had said.

Under the draft e-way bill, which was placed in the public domain last month, every registered supplier will require a prior online registration on the GSTN portal for movement of goods valued at more than Rs 50,000. Under GST, the annual turnover threshold for registration is Rs 20 lakh (Rs 10 lakh for northeastern states).

According to draft rules, upon generation of the e-way bill on the GSTN portal, a unique e-way bill number shall be made available to the supplier, the recipient and the transporter. The transporter or 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 embedded on the conveyance.

The e-way bill, once generated, shall be valid for one, three, five, 10 or 15 days from the date of generation depending upon the distance for which the goods have to be transported — one day being for less than 100 km and 15 days for more than 1,000 km transit.

The rules also empower designated tax officials to intercept any conveyance to verify the e-way bill or the e-way bill number in physical form for all inter-state and intra-state movement of goods along with physical verification of conveyance for suspected case of tax evasion. The e-way bill also brings in accountability for tax officials as a transporter may upload the information on the GSTN portal if his vehicle has been intercepted and detained for more than 30 minutes.

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