With a smooth run of the e-way bill system for inter-state movement of goods since its April 1 rollout, the government is set to introduce it at an intra-state level this week. In an interview with Aanchal Magazine, Goods and Services Tax Network’s (GSTN) CEO Prakash Kumar said though there has been no past data to forecast load for intra-state transactions, they are “fully prepared” for the intra-state e-way bill system and the underlying IT software has been augmented to handle 75 lakh e-way bills generation per day. Currently, nine lakh inter-state e-way bills are being generated per day and in total, 52.5 lakh e-way bills have been generated in the first seven days of April, he said. Excerpts:
The e-way bill is functioning smoothly so far for inter-state movement of goods. What are the preparations for intra-state e-way bill system? Last time, load from intra-state transactions had led to the system crash. What is being done to avoid it this time?
We are fully prepared for intra-state e-way bill system. Very few states had intra-state transit pass system and hence there is no past data to rely on to forecast the load. Hence, we have decided to go in for the intra-state e-way bill in a staggered manner. The software has been further improved and underlying IT infrastructure augmented to handle 75 lakh e-way bill generation per day. Currently, nine lakhs inter-state e-way bills are being generated on the system for the whole country. Total 52.5 lakh e-way bills have been generated in the first seven days of April.
Karnataka is the only state which has rolled out intra-state e-way bill system. The inter-state volume for the whole country was estimated based on Karnataka’s e-way bill generation numbers. Is the same calculation method being used to estimate intra-state volume?
We have also used a number of invoices filed with GSTR-1 for estimating inter-state e-way bill data.
Have you received any inputs from transporters/industry for improvisation of the system after the e-way bill rollout? How is it being acted upon?
The system is designed based on law. The government has incorporated many of the suggestions made by stakeholders in the law and those have also been incorporated in the system.
Only 11 lakh transporters have registered so far on the e-way bill system. There are over one crore registrants under GST. Is the low number of e-way bill registrants a concern?
To answer this question, one has to see who is required to generate the e-way bill. Those who are supplying services do not need an e-way bill. Similarly, those who are selling to consumers like you and me are also not required to generate an e-way bill, if the goods are below Rs 50,000. The suppliers below Rs 50,000 do not need an e-way bill.
The number of GSTIN holders registered one-way portal has gone up to 12.5 lakhs. In last six days 1.5 lakh GSTIN holders have registered on the e-way bill portal. Those who need to generate are enrolling themselves on e-Way Bill Portal. The transporters who are not registered under GST, are also enrolling under e-way bill. That number has also seen an increase of 7.5 per cent during last one week.
Some transporters have voiced concerns that they may have to face multiple checking of their e-way bills in different states during inter-state movement of goods since officials don’t have a centralised feed from the GSTN on the ground.
How is it being tackled? Is a technological system being designed to avoid such double scrutiny?
The officers checking the vehicle have to upload this information on the e-way bill portal. Once this is done, it is available to other tax officers once they key-in the e-way bill number in the mobile-based application.
Has any data analysis been done so far based on the state-wise e-way bill numbers?
We have data of 7 days so far. For meaningful analysis, one needs much longer range data.
On GST foundation day, CEA Arvind Subramanian mentioned that there’s need for a clear protocol for sharing GST data with government departments. What is the protocol right now and how can it be evolved?
The data under GST System is owned by the government and sharing of the same is defined in the GST Law. Any decision on this can be taken only by the government.
Sensitive data related to companies is uploaded on GSTN. How safe is the data? How is the confidentiality/protection of such data ensured?
We are fully cognizant of this fact and GSTN has taken all possible steps to keep the data safe. The design of GST System takes care of confidentiality of data. The data on the return is visible only to the taxpayer himself or the tax officer having jurisdiction over the taxpayer.
GSTN has proposed a separate system for fraud analytics going ahead. When is it likely to be introduced?
The work on the selection of a partner is going on.