December 16, 2017

The GST Council, which held an urgent meeting via video conferencing, on Saturday approved mandatory compliance of the e-Way Bill to ease traders concerns.

With this decision, the e-way bill for the inter-state movement got advanced to February 1 from April 1, ET Now reported quoting sources. The GST Council also decided that the trial of the e-way bill will begin from January 15, and asked states to come back to the Council prepared.

The E-way bill requires online pre-registration of goods before transportation under the new GST regime. Under the e-way mechanism, all goods worth over Rs 50,000 will have to be pre-registered online before they are moved for sale beyond 10 km.

This was the 24th meeting of the Council. The last meeting was held in Guwahati in November where taxes on 178 items were slashed. In an earlier meeting, the Council had decided that e-way bill – an electronic document generated on the GST Network portal – would be introduced in a staggered manner from January 1 and subsequently nation-wide from April 1.

The need to review the rollout timeline stems from revenue shortfall registered last month, PTI reported. The GST revenue for October stood at Rs 83,346 crore, the lowest compared to the first three months since the implementation of GST from July 1. It was significantly down from the September figure of Rs 95,131 crore.

Last month, tax rates on several items, ranging from chewing gum to chocolates, to beauty products, wigs, and wristwatches, were cut to provide relief to consumers and businesses. As many as 178 items of daily use were shifted from the top tax bracket of 28% to 18%, while a uniform 5% tax was prescribed for all restaurants, both air-conditioned and non-AC. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, time and again, hinted at lower tax slabs in coming days if there is enough revenue buoyancy.

[The Financial Express]