New Delhi: Generating e-way bills will be compulsory for transporting goods locally in five more states starting 15 April as the nation gradually extends the scope of electronic permits mandated for goods shipments across state borders from the beginning of the month.
A statement from the finance ministry said that Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh will make e-way bills compulsory for movement of goods within their boundaries. Karnataka had implemented it for local movement of goods when the e-way bill requirement was implemented from 1 April nationwide for inter-state shipments.
The idea of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council is to gradually have the same electronic permit for all shipments of goods within the country above a value of Rs50,000, including local transportation beyond 50km. By 1 June, the council expects all states to adopt e-way bills for local movement of goods as well.
The statement said that till 9 April, more than six million e-way bills had been generated.
“With the roll-out of e-way bill system in these States, it is expected that trade and industry will be further facilitated insofar as the transport of goods is concerned, eventually paving the way for a nation-wide single e-Way Bill system," said the statement. Businesses have to register in the e-way bill portal to generate the document.
E-way bill system is one of the anti-evasion features of the new indirect tax system that is expected to prevent manipulation of the value of goods transported. It is also expected to integrate cash-driven informal transactions into the formal economy. Policy makers expect e-way bills will boost GST revenue, which has been stagnating for the last three months. In March, GST revenue stood at Rs85,174 crore, slightly lower than the receipts in the previous month.
Experts said the government is encouraged by the fact that the e-way bill system worked for inter-state shipments since the beginning of the month. “The strategy of introduction of e-way bill in phases and testing the load capacity of the e-way bill portal gradually has worked well for the government," said Abhishek Jain, indirect tax partner at EY.
Archit Gupta, founder and chief executive officer of Cleartax, a tax payer services firm, said that barring a few exceptions, the experience of the e-way bill portal has been smooth so far. “The government has succeeded in offering a stable infrastructure and we hope the same will be replicated with the intra-state roll out. This staggered roll out for a few states at a time will help balance the load."