24 Feb 2018 20:29 IST

GoM favours e-way bill implementation from April 1

GST E-Way Bill

Launch of intra-State e-way bill to be staggered, starting with 4-5 States

The Sushil Modi-headed Group of Ministers on GST on Saturday decided to go in for phased launch of e-way Bill system and recommended that it be made mandatory for inter-State movement of goods from April 1 this year. This recommendation will be taken up by the GST Council at its meeting on March 10, Modi, who heads the Group of Ministers and is also Bihar Deputy Chief Minister, told reporters here after the GoM meeting in the capital.

Modi also said that the issue of making e-way Bill mandatory for intra-State movements will be considered after couple of weeks post the April 1 implementation. The introduction will be staggered, starting off with just 4-5 States implementing the system in the first stage.

Simplifying returns

On Saturday, the GoM reviewed the state of IT infrastructure preparedness for e-way bill implementation in the country. The report submitted noted that the IT infrastructure has now been bolstered to handle as many as 26-50 lakh e-way bills a day in general. It can even go up to 75 lakhs per day, Modi said. It may be recalled that the Government had deferred implementation of e-way bill system under GST after industry faced several glitches on the IT portal front..

On the issue of simplifying returns, Modi said that the GoM deliberated on the issue, but no final decisions was arrived. This issue requires more deliberations, he added.

Experts take

MS Mani, Partner-GST, Deloitte in India told BusinessLine that the recommendation of a phased launch of the e-way bill will enable businesses to become ready over a period of time and will give time to the GSTN to overcome glitches that arise during the initial phase.

On the issue of returns, Mani said that the fact that the GoM requires more deliberations on the issue of simplifying returns indicates that there is an attempt to retain fundamental features such as invoice matching and input tax credit tracking, while making the return process easier for taxpayers.

Pratik Jain, Partner & Leader - Indirect Taxes, PwC India said: "Introducing E-way bill only for inter state transactions from April 1, 2018 is a good idea as it will give it time for the government as well as industry to adjust with the new system and ensure that load on the portal is not sudden".

He said that the GST council should ensure that all the States introduce this mechanism from the same date and the current practice wherein different system is followed in different states is discontinued. "Any problems with this system can cause widespread supply chain disruption and its good that Government is cautious in its approach", he added.