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Government plans to curb inspector raj by pioneering e-bills

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New Delhi: Post the roll out of GST from 1st July 2017, there could be seen a spike in the movement of the commercial goods across the states. Something that we can believe is cross functional now and is very good for the economy as the states abolished the entry check posts.

The government has proposed an E-way bill for transporting the goods within the country. This move by the government is expected to rely heavily on technology, where they expect to employ RFID (Radio-frequency identification) chips and QR (Quick Response) codes in the heavy duty vehicles. This RFID platform for the E-Way Bill is being developed by the National Informatics Center (NIC) along with the GST- Network (GSTN). GSTN has been credited for developing the IT backbone for the new indirect tax regime, GST.

RFID tags, which are not as popular as the QR codes are a very good invention in terms of technology. RFID which stands for radio- frequency identification uses Electromagnetic waves to track and identify tags attached to the objects from a distance. Under the new tax regime, a document called E-Way Bill would be required to shift goods across states. This is only applicable if the goods is worth more than Rs 50,000. The industry has been a bit reluctant and has been believing that introduction of such a document will revive the inspector raj that prevailed previously. This could undermine or curb the gains achieved by the abolition of check posts in post GST. Also, the EICI (Express Industry Council of India), which represents the logistic industry of small and large players feels that this move could initially be a huge logistic challenge for the industry.

Under the new tax regime, a document called E-Way Bill would be required to shift goods across states. This is only applicable if the goods is worth more than Rs 50,000. The industry has been a bit reluctant and has been believing that introduction of such a document will revive the inspector raj that prevailed previously. This could undermine or curb the gains achieved by the abolition of check posts in post GST. Also, the EICI (Express Industry Council of India), which represents the logistic industry of small and large players feels that this move could initially be a huge logistic challenge for the industry.

As per a government official, having such a technology interface would definitely ensure that all the data is captured correctly regarding the E-way Bills and this would remove the hurdle of checking the vehicles. Having an embedded circuit with the RFID tag or having a QR code will help to scan the vehicles in a nonintrusive way without holding up the vehicle.

Few ministers from state and central government are expected to work with the finance ministry to design an E-Way Bill. The E-Way Bill would be generated on request with a maturity life of 1 to 15 days, primarily depending upon the distance to be covered by the conveyance. A one day permit would be for the vehicles that would cover a distance of up to 100 Km and a 15-day permit would be for the ones that cover a distance of as much as 1000 Km.

Rules for the E-Way Bill are yet to be finalized and signed off. The committee is expected to come out with the final set of rules during the next meet scheduled on 5th of August, 2017. It is expected that the E-Way Bill will be implemented in a full-fledged way in another three months’ time.

Who can generate the E-Way Bill Under GST?

Both the registered and the unregistered person can register for the E-Way bill as the bill must be generated in case the goods are worth more than Rs 50,000. An unregistered person or his transporter can also generate the bill if he is supplying the goods to a registered person. Meanwhile, the register, in that case, will have to do all the compliance on the unregistered person’s behalf as if he was the supplier.

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Anand Narayanaswamy works as a journalist based in Trivandrum, India. After unsuccessfully completing the company secretary course, Anand decided to step into software and technology route. More recently, he had a great interest in exploring about the Goods and Services Tax.

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