New Delhi, February 2, 2018

Trial phase of e-way bill extended

The government has begun looking into the technical glitches that led to the delay in the implementation of the e-way bill under the Goods and Services Tax.

“We are in discussions with the GST Network on what has happened. The GST Council will also be briefed about the delay. Efforts will be on to ensure that the e-way Bill is started at the earliest across the country,” said a senior official.

The government had late on Thursday evening announced that the trial phase of the e-way bill had been extended due to the difficulties faced by the trade in generating the bills because of initial technical glitches.

“It shall be made compulsory from a date to be announced,” an official statement had said.

The e-way bill is an online ticket for movement of goods worth over Rs.50,000 for distances above 10 km.

It is one of the GST provisions yet to be implemented.

But in a bid to curb tax evasion in inter-State movement of goods, the GST Council had decided that the e-way bill would start on a trial basis from January 16 and on a mandatory basis from February 1. It was being developed by NIC and GSTN on a similar model used by the Karnataka government.

However, trade and industry had been concerned that it would lead to delays in transport of goods and harassment by tax officials, and had also called for its deferment to ensure that the IT system was fully in place.

Pratik Jain, Partner & Leader, Indirect Tax - PwC India, “This is precisely what Industry was concerned about. It is good that the government has been quick to defer it. It might be better to first start with e- way bill only for inter-State transactions before moving to intra-State. Hopefully, the trial period will also provide the government an opportunity to test the system and fix the technical glitches.”

The government may now require to watch the sentiments of the industry to avoid a situation that occurred during the filing of GST returns, said Suresh Nandlal Rohira, Partner, Grant Thornton India, adding that the e-way bill system should be rolled out after few tests.

[The Hindu Business Line]