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E-way bill mandatory from April 1: Karnataka only state to notify inter, intra-state movement

The simultaneous rollout of e-way bill for both intra-state and inter-state movement of goods is critical in the context that the last time the e-way bill system was rolled out on February 1, the portal is believed to have crashed.

Written by Aanchal Magazine | New Delhi | Published: March 31, 2018 12:50:48 am
E-way bill under GST mandatory from April 1 The nationwide mandatory rollout of the e-way bill system for inter-state movement of goods is on April 1 under the goods and services tax (GST) regime. (Illustration: C R Sasikumar)

As the country prepares for the nationwide mandatory rollout of the e-way bill system for inter-state movement of goods from April 1 under the goods and services tax (GST) regime, Karnataka will be an exception having notified the e-way bill for both inter-state as well as intra-state movement of goods. Officials running the IT platform for e-way bill, however, indicated that the rollout of intra-state e-way bill system for any state will not be supported as the government and GST Network (GSTN) want to stay exclusively focused on e-way bill system for inter-state movement of goods for the first couple of days.

The simultaneous rollout of e-way bill for both intra-state and inter-state movement of goods is critical in the context that the last time the e-way bill system was rolled out on February 1, the portal is believed to have crashed primarily because of extra load from generation of e-way bills by states for intra-state movement of goods in addition to the ones for inter-state movement of goods.

Express ExplainedE-way bill: An electronic system to track goods movement, a way to plug leaks under the GST framework

“We first need to see the performance of e-way bill system for inter-state movement of goods and then extend for intra-state movement of goods. The government has decided April 1 as the date for e-way bill for inter-state movement of goods and we will not support generation of e-way bill for intra-state movement of goods from the same date,” a GSTN official said.

State government officials of Karnataka, however, said that the state has been running the e-way bill system for both inter-state and intra-state movement of goods since September and the decision to continue for both the levels of movement of goods was taken in the previous GST Council meeting. “We have been running the e-way bill system since September for both inter-state and intra-state movement of goods and now, we will just continue the same after April 1. The decision was taken in the last GST Council meeting,” a state government official said.

Meanwhile, some states have notified suspension of the e-way bill system for intra-state movement of goods even as they are on board for the introduction for inter-state movement of goods. States such as Bihar, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Assam have issued notifications for suspension of e-way bill for intra-state movement of goods from April 1.

The divergence between states and Centre over the uniform applicability may be a deterrent for the smooth implementation of the e-way bill system. M S Mani, Partner, Deloitte India said, “It must be ensured that there is no divergence amongst states on e-way bill introduction as such divergences will affect the ability of businesses to be compliant. It is essential to ensure that e-way bill introduction on intra-state movements is uniformly introduced after the introduction on inter-state transactions is successful.”

Karnataka was the first state to operationalise the e-way bill system in September 2017, using the information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure available with the state. Before the rollout, the e-way bill system was designed, developed and tested by the state during August 2017 in partnership with the National Informatics Centre (NIC), which has been assigned the project. More than 1 lakh e-way bills are generated every day in the system in the state.

In its 26th meeting held earlier this month, GST Council had given its nod for the rollout of e-way bill system for inter-state movement of goods valued over Rs 50,000 from April 1, while approving a staggered implementation at the intra-state level. The Council had approved the phased rollout of e-way bill at intra-state level by dividing states in four zones, with the first group to be finalised on April 7. Till early this week, only 11 lakh tax assessees of GST had registered for e-way bill as against total 1.05 crore registrants under GST (till March 25).

Critical decision

* The simultaneous rollout is critical in the context that the last time the e-way bill system was rolled out on Feb 1, the portal is believed to have crashed primarily because of extra load from generation of e-way bills by states for intra-state movement

* Karnataka officials said that the state has been running the e-way bill system for both inter-state and intra-state movement since Sept and the decision to continue for both the levels of movement was taken in the previous GST Council meeting

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