The GST Council has introduced ‘E-way Bills’ to replace the concept of waybills and transport bills that transport companies have been using since time immemorial. E-way bills stands for Electronic Way bills. An easy way to understand these bills is by looking at them as a pre-signed order for transport of goods, for which a unique e-way bill number called ‘EBN’ is obtained electronically through GSTN (Goods and Services Tax Network). EBN is further made available to the supplier, the recipient and the transporter.
What does the draft e-way bill provisions mandate?
1) Movement of goods worth more than Rs 50,000 by a registered entity will require prior online registration of the consignment on the GST portal and securing an “e-way” bill. Although an e-way bill for consignments of value less than Rs.50,000 can be generated by either a registered person or a transporter, but it may not be mandatory.
2) In case the e-way bill is not generated by the registered entity and the goods are still handed over to a transporter, the registered entity shall furnish the information relating to transporter on the common portal and the e-way bill shall be generated by the transporter.
3) The registered entity will also be required to furnish the information and generate the e-way bill for all inward supplies from an unregistered player.
4) The entity carrying the goods will be required to carry the e-way bill along with invoice/bill of supply/delivery challan. The facility of generation and cancellation of e-way bill may also be made available through SMS.
The form applicable for generating e-way bill is Form GST INS-1 which contains Part-A, where in the details of the goods are furnished, and Part-B contains details of the transporter.The transporter has to generate the e-way bill on the basis of the invoice, bill of supply or the delivery challan.
In cases where multiple consignments are transported in one vehicle, the transporter should generate a consolidated e-way bill in the Form GST INS 02 and separately indicate the serial number of e-way bills for each of the consignment. But,if goods are transferred from one vehicle to another vehicle in the course of transit, the transporter must ensure that before transferring the goods to another vehicle or making any further movement of such goods, he should generate a new e-way bill in Form GST INS 01 by specifying the details of the mode of transport. In case the recipient of goods doesn’t communicate acceptance or rejection within 72 hours, it will be deemed as accepted by the recipient.
Regarding cancellation of an e-way bill, it can be cancelled electronically on GSTN server within 24 hours of its generation, and before being verified by an officer during transit.The facility of generation and cancellation of e-Way bills will be made available through SMS.
The Validity Period of an E-Way Bill:
Less than 100 km – 1 Day
100 km or more but less than 300 km – 3 Days
300 km or more but less than 500 km – 5 Days
500 km or more but less than 1000 km – 10 Days
1000 km or more – 15 Days
The validity period will be counted from the time of generation of the e-way bill. The timeline may be extended by the commissioner for certain categories of goods.
The Documentation Verification Process by Officers:
The transporter or the person in charge of a conveyance should carry the invoice or bill of supply or delivery challan, and a physical copy of the e-way bill or the e-way bill number. The Government has made arrangements for avoiding the verification of the physical copy of the e-way bill, and offered a device Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) which can be fixed to the vehicle and the e-way bill is mapped to the device. However, it is still recommended that physical copies should be kept handy.
The officer needs to record the details of the inspection of goods in Part- A of Form GST INS-03 within 24 hrs of an inspection process and the final report should be recorded in Part B of Form GST INS 03 within 3 days of inspection. If the vehicle is detained for more than 30 minutes, the transporter is allowed to complain the delay caused by uploading the details in Form GST INS 04.
In a recent article posted by Firstpost, we gathered that the e-way bill implementation is likely to be delayed for a few quarters on pan-India basis. But, for when it shall be implemented across India, these bills will prove to be a game changer for the economy scaling down the number of check-posts across state borders and national highways, which will eventually result in ease of movement of goods. First Post stated that, ‘The GST Council decided to defer e-way bill requirements at all-India level and left it to the discretion of states. The GSTN network is also not ready and will take “4-5 months” to implement the e-way bill provisions.’