E-way bill rollout deferred due to technical glitches, trial phase to continue

E-way bill rollout deferred due to technical glitches, trial phase to continue

The new transportation system was to be in force from yesterday after a 15-day trial period that began on January 16 ended on January 31.

The government on Thursday deferred the launch of e-way bill system, citing technical problems in bill generation. The Central Board of Excise and Customs in a tweet said: "In view of difficulties faced by the trade in generating e-way bill due to initial technological glitches, it has been decided to extend the trial phase for generation of e-way bill, both for inter and intra state movement of goods. It'll be applicable from a date to be notified."

The new transportation system was to be in force from yesterday (February 1) after a 15-day trial period that began on January 16 ended on January 31.

During the trial run, 2.84 lakh e-way permits were issued on the GSTN portal. However, on the first day of formal launch of the bill, the system faced technical glitches. According to reports, along with inter-state electronic bill generation by all states, 17 states also started generating e-way bills for intra-state movement of goods, which created pressure on the portal.

The e-way bill system was introduced under GST provision. The new system requires transporters to carry an electronic bill for moving goods. E-way bill was to be implemented last year, but due to lack of technical preparation, the launch was postponed.

Last year in December, the GST Council decided to implement the e-way bill throughout the country from February. In a notification, the GSTN informed the transporters that E-way bill would become mandatory for inter-state movements of goods from February 1, 2018. It further said that the nationwide e-way bill system would be ready to be rolled out on a trial basis by January 16.  

E-way bill can be generated from the GSTN portal. It can also be generated or cancelled through SMS. When an e-way bill is generated, a unique e-way bill number (EBN) is allocated and is available to the supplier, recipient, and the transporter.


What is e-way bill?
E-way bill is an electronic document generated on the GST portal evidencing movement of goods. Every registered person who causes movement of goods (which may not necessarily be on account of supply) of consignment value more than Rs 50000 is required to furnish the details of GSTIN of recipient, place of delivery, invoice or challan number and date, value of goods, HSN code, transport document number (Goods Receipt Number or Railway Receipt Number or Airway Bill Number or Bill of Lading Number) and reasons for transportation and transporter details (Vehicle number).

Who should generate it and why?
E-way bill can be generated by the consignor or consignee himself if the transportation is being done in own/hired conveyance or by railways by air or by Vessel. If the goods are handed over to a transporter for transportation by road, the bill will be generated by the transporter. Where neither the consignor nor consignee generates the e-way bill and the value of goods is more than Rs.50,000 it shall be the responsibility of the transporter to generate it.

Purpose of e-way bill
E-way bill is a mechanism to ensure that goods being transported comply with the GST Law and is an effective tool to track movement of goods and check tax evasion.

Validity of e-way bill

The validity of e-way bill depends on the distance to be travelled by the goods. For a distance of less than 100 Km the e-way bill will be valid for a day from the relevant date. For every 100 Km thereafter, the validity will be additional one day from the relevant date. The "relevant date" shall mean the date on which the e-way bill has been generated and the period of validity shall be counted from the time at which the e-way bill has been generated and each day shall be counted as twenty-four hours.

What if goods cannot be transported within the period?
n general, the validity of the e-way bill cannot be extended. However, Commissioner may extend the validity period only by way of issue of notification for certain categories of goods. Further, if under circumstances of an exceptional nature, the goods cannot be transported within the validity period of the e-way bill, the transporter may generate another e-way bill after updating the details again.

Cases where e-way bill is not required
ccording to CBEC, there are some exceptions to e-way bill requirement. It said: "No e-way bill is required to be generated in the cases where goods being transported by a non-motorised conveyance; goods being transported from the port, airport, air cargo complex and land customs station to an inland container depot or a container freight station for clearance by Customs; and when Consignment value is less than Rs 50,000 among others."

(With inputs from PTI)