The implementation phase is tenacious when it is about an indirect tax regime like GST that not only brought a new phase to the Indian economy but also replacing the conventional system with an advanced one. The stability of post GST scenario depends on how the authority is facilitating infrastructure, how the citizens are accepting the new system, and whether the market players are playing with justice and accurate knowledge. Simplifying the GST implementation phase is the most critical thing and only a top-down approach can take this tax structure to the common people. This article will explain how the Indian government is ensuring the smooth movement of goods in the country after GST’s implementation.
The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has proposed Electronic Way (e-way) bill to assure an easy implementation of GST in the country. This bill aims to check the tax evasion which is taking place under the present Value Added Tax (VAT) laws. Various states currently need numerous documents like permit forms, waybills, challans, declaration, etc. for goods’ transportation under GST. The proposed e-way bill will unify this complex document management process.
Crux of e-way bill
According to the draft of the e-way bill, every GST registered person needs to produce an e-way bill before the interstate or intrastate goods’ movement worth more than INR 50,000. This bill is generated digitally, before the beginning of the transportation. This online pre-registration is mandatory for all tax payers and this registration will be done under GSTN (Goods and Service Tax Network).
Thus, the e-way bill gives information about the movement of goods on the following grounds:
Regarding a supply.
For reasons apart from a supply.
For secret supply from a person who is not registered under GST.
Current status of e-way bill
The government of India has announced the draft of e-way bill in April 2017. Although this bill is going to be implemented from the month of October after making a centralized software ready for the same. However, some states like West Bengal, Kerala, Bihar, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh have already robust e-way bill system. The GST Council has allowed these states to use their existing system till a centralized platform is ready.
Validity of e-way bill
The e-way bill is valid for a time frame of 1-20 days whereas, 1 day is considered as 100km and 20 days are considered for a distance of more than 1000 km. After creation of the e-way bill, the common platform will give a unique e-way bill number (EBN) to the supplier, transporter and recipient.
GST e-way bill decides the date of the relevance of goods as per the distance. A table is mentioned below to understand this provision:
|Less than 100 km||1 day|
|More than 100km but less than 300 km||3 days|
|More than 300 km but less than 500 km||5 days|
|More than 500 km but less than 1000 km||10 days|
|More than 1000 km||20 days|
How will this e-way bill work?
After getting the invoice, the person in-charge of the transportation will need to carry it physically or he/she can map this to Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) which is embedded on to the vehicle. The authorized tax commissioner needs to verify the e-way bill number physically for all interstate and intrastate movement of goods. This verification can be performed on the basis of specific information of tax evasion. Then the authorized officer will need to submit a summary report within 24 hours and a final report within 3 days of inspection.
Cancellation of e-way bill
A verified e-way bill which is already in transit can never be cancelled. Before transportation of the goods, an e-way bill can be cancelled within 24 hours of its creation.
The end of the lines
The GST enforcement is solely depending on less human intervention and more on a digitized platform. Only the time will decide to what extent India becomes successful in its GST implementation. When the small medium entrepreneurs contribute 45% to the Indian GDP, it’s challenging for them along with small transporters to adopt such digitized system quickly. The government has also said that it will not be very strict during the initial stages of e-way implementation.