More than 5 lakh GST e-way bills issued on Day 2 of rollout
New Delhi: GST e-way bill was off to a successful start with more than five lakh e-way bills generated till 7 pm on the first working day of its implementation.
The roll-out of e-way bill without any glitches came as a relief to businesses who were fearing disruption to trade.
With the successful rollout of e-way bill—an electronic documentation of movement of goods—a key anti-evasion measure under goods and services tax is now in place. The government is hoping that this will help in improving tax revenues under GST.
Initially, GST e-way bill was made mandatory for all inter-state movement of goods valued above Rs50,000 from 1 February. However, the information technology network was unable to cope with the load leading to long delays in the generation of e-way bills forcing the government to defer its rollout to 1 April.
“GST revenues will pick up further as more compliances come in. E-way bill will help in checking tax evasion,” finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia said.
Though the central government and state governments are giving taxpayers time to adjust to the new mechanism, checking of trucks by tax authorities will begin soon.
The government has been fearing massive tax evasion under GST after it postponed anti-evasion measures like e-way bill, matching of invoices of the buyers and sellers and a reverse charge mechanism wherein the large registered buyers have to pay tax on behalf of small unregistered sellers.
Adhia added that the tax authorities have started the crackdown on tax evaders. Mint reported last week that the directorate general of GST intelligence had unearthed tax evasion amounting to Rs 440 crore in an all India operation.
Depending on the experience of rollout for inter-state, the e-way bill will be implemented for intra-state movement of goods from 15 April, said Adhia. “It will be rolled out in a phase-wise manner with a few states implementing it initially,” he added.
The goods and services tax network (GSTN) and the National Informatics Centre are handling the rollout of the GST e-way bill. The system is prepared to handle 75 lakh e-way bills daily and is generating 60,000 e-way bills per hour, said GSTN chairman Ajay Bhushan Pandey.
However, transporters are still not confident about the government’s preparedness.
“Being the first working week in the new financial year, most companies were busy doing stock taking/accounting, etc. Despatches historically are low in April and specially in the first few days. Due to this it was a good day on the e-way portal. Pressure was low and not many complaints were received,” said Abhishek Gupta, office bearer of the Bombay Goods Transport Association.
“We are hopeful that the government will be able to assess the numbers and accordingly plan for a surge in e-way bill numbers from mid April,” he said.
In a note of caution, EY India partner Abhishek Jain said frequent deployment of anti-evasion squads by tax authorities for checking e-way bills could become a bottleneck in the movement of goods.
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