E-way to be implemented from April

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NEW DELHI: The group of state finance ministers on GST Network on Saturday decided to start the inter-state movement of goods worth more than Rs 50,000 through e-way bill mechanism from April 1, Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi said.
“We have decided to start the inter-state movement of goods through e-way bill mechanism from April 1,” Modi told reporters after the meeting of the ministerial group.
The e-way bill requirement for intra-state movement of goods would be introduced in phases after assessing the response for inter-state movement for couple of weeks, Modi, who heads the panel, said.
After implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1, the requirement of carrying e-way bill was postponed pending IT network readiness. It was implemented from February 1 but the system crashed and its implementation was deferred.
The GoM meet, however, remained inconclusive on how to simplify the return filing process for businesses under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.
“The GoM had detailed discussions on return simplification but could not reach a consensus. However, the unanimous decision was there should be credit matching,” Modi told reporters here.
The GST Council, headed by India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising his state counterparts, in its next meeting on March 10 will discuss various proposals on return simplification deliberated upon by the GoM on Saturday.
The initial sales return GSTR-3B “will continue for sometime”, Modi said. The GST Council in its meeting in November had extended GSTR-3B filing till March end, while keeping in abeyance filing of GSTR-2 and 3 for the purpose of invoice matching.
In the GoM meet on Saturday, the centre and state officials presented their model for return simplification, while Nandan Nilekani also made his presentation.
Modi said the idea is GST return form should be simplified, it should ideally be one return every month.
The other issue before the GoM is whether provisional credit be allowed and whether the credit should be linked or delinked from tax payment.
“There are different opinions and how to merge them that needs to be discussed. We will discuss further and take a view,” Modi said.
As many as 7.28 crore GST returns have been filed so far on GSTN portal since the implementation of the GST. For the month of January, 56.72 lakh returns have been filed so far.
Modi said the GoM would also look into return filing timeline of small taxpayers. The Council in October had allowed small businesses with turnover up to Rs 1.5 crore to file quarterly returns.
On the state of preparedness of the system for implementation of e-way bill from April 1, GSTN CEO Prakash Kumar said that the entire infrastructure has been upgraded to allow capacity to handle extra load.
Modi said the National Informatics Centre (NIC) which is developing the e-way bill platform has already conducted two rounds of load testing and now on daily basis 6.5 lakh e-way bills are being generated on the portal.
The infrastructure has been upgraded to take load of about 26-50 lakh e-way bills daily, he said.
The third round of testing would be done in next couple of days where the NIC would check the portal capability to handle 75 lakh inter-state e-way bill daily. He said for intra-state movement of goods, e-way bill would be implemented after couple of weeks in a phased manner.
“So all the states will not be taken on board at one go, in a phased manner about 4-5 states per week will be allowed to join,” Modi said.
There are 9.5 lakh businesses who are registered on e-way bill portal, as against 96 lakh registered under GST regime. Besides, 8,500 transporters have also registered on the e-way bill portal. Modi said the recommendation of the GoM would be considered by the GST Council at its meeting on March 10. “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,” said Deloittee India Senior Director M S Mani.

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