Home >politics >policy >E-way bill set to roll out from 1 April, no consensus on simplification of GST returns
Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, chairman of group of ministers, said the entire infrastructure has been upgraded and additional capacity added by the National Informatics Centre to ensure a successful rollout the second time around. Photo: HT
Bihar deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, chairman of group of ministers, said the entire infrastructure has been upgraded and additional capacity added by the National Informatics Centre to ensure a successful rollout the second time around. Photo: HT

E-way bill set to roll out from 1 April, no consensus on simplification of GST returns

E-way bill system for inter-state movement of goods across the country is likely to be implemented from 1 April

New Delhi: E-way bill system for inter-state movement of goods across the country is likely to be implemented from 1 April with a group of ministers constituted to look into the technological preparedness of the goods and services tax network (GSTN) proposing its rollout from the new financial year.

To be sure, the decision has to be approved by the GST Council—the federal decision making body having representatives from the centre and the states.

However, there was no consensus on simplification of return filing processes under GST with differences persisting among the various stakeholders.

In a press conference after the meeting of the group of ministers, its chairman Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said the entire infrastructure has been upgraded and additional capacity added by the National Informatics Centre—the agency tasked with the e-way bill infrastructure—to ensure a successful rollout the second time around.

E-way bill system was rolled out for all inter-state movement of goods from 1 February but technological glitches on the first day of its rollout forced the council to defer it indefinitely.

E-way bill is an electronic documentation tracking the movement of goods and is key prevent underreporting and evasion of taxes under GST.

“Nearly 6.5 lakh e-way bills are being generated every day (in the trial phase). We anticipate that around 26 lakh to 50 lakh e-way bills will be generated each day. We are preparing the system to generate 75 lakh e-way bills every day," Modi said adding two rounds of testing have been completed so far and another one round of testing is scheduled in the next few days.

More than 9.5 lakh taxpayers and 8500 transporters are registered on the e-way bill portal.

To prevent the overload on systems caused by some states also starting e-way bills for movement of goods even within a state, the group of ministers has decided to introduce it in a phase wise manner.

“Once e-way bill is rolled out for inter-state movement of goods, we will wait for a couple of weeks and then introduce it for intra-state goods movement in a phased manner wherein a few states will be added every week," Modi said.

On simplification of returns filing process, Modi said there was no unanimity so far in the meeting also attended by Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani.

Infosys is providing the software and hardware for the goods and services tax network.

“There is a common consensus that there should be credit matching and the forms should be simplified. There should be one return per month but we will take a call on how to simplify the processes for small businesses. Credit reconciliation is a must," he said.

The differences however persist on whether provisional credit should be allowed or not and whether credit should be linked to tax payment or not, Modi said, adding that more consultation will be done for merging of the different opinions.

The last GST Council meeting held in January had given its in-principle nod to ease the return filing process. It was considering doing away with forms such as GSTR 2, dealing with purchases, and GSTR 3, a comprehensive return. Instead it had proposed continuing with the existing simpler summary return form GSTR 3B to be supplemented with details from invoices to be uploaded by suppliers on the GSTN.

So far 7.28 crore returns have been filed with GSTN and nearly 197 crore invoices processed. The number of registered taxpayers under GST are more than 1.02 crore.

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