How Does E-way Bill Aid in the Logistic Troubles?

 Nikhil Makharia
  Apr 23, 2018

The reason to implement e-Way Bill under the GST regime was to make the transportation of goods easier and hassle-free. Indeed, it even has the potential to change the Indian Logistics industry, given that government moves ahead with it wisely.

India is a large country where one of the most highly preferred modes of goods transportation is roads. The road transport is a crucial aspect of the logistics and transport industry and forms the backbone for agriculture and FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) industries. The sector has seen the constant growth of 10% for the past few years and it has further benefited from the rapid expansion in changes in taxation, automobile industry, and the rise in the e-commerce industry which heavily relies on the logistics to offer doorstep delivery.

With the introduction of GST, the requirement for integrated logistics solutions is expected to increase as companies will subsequently reduce the number of warehouses they operate in different states. This is also expected to make the inter-state transportation easier, as it is one of the major problems faced by the sector. Now, the answer of GST Council and CBEC to documentation hassles and long queues at check posts is the e-Way Bills. e-Way Bills will reduce the number of delivery challans, waybills, transport bills, and other documentation to make the interstate transportation of goods easier.

In short, an e-way bill is a pre-signed order to transport goods which is electronically obtained via Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN). Under this, any consignment worth Rs. 50,000 or more cannot be transported without an e-Way Bill. Learning how to create an e-Way bill is not a cumbersome task, either. It can be done by a registered as well as an unregistered person.

Compliances Associated with e-Way Bills

The compliances associated with e-Way bills have been defined in a manner that is easy to follow. But, the question is:

One of the banes of Indian Logistics industry has been the lack of compliance across the different channels. The waybills which were earlier obtained from VAT authorities are infamous for restricting the transportation of goods. The e-Way Bill is meant to create free-flow transportation. However, this does not mean that transporters no longer need to follow the rules. The detailed guidelines on the compliance with e-Way Bill have been released by CBEC. Some of them include:

  • Whenever the consignment’s mode of transport is changed, a new e-Way bill needs to be generated.
  • For transportation of more than one consignment across the state borders, each consignment’s serial number for the associated e-way bill need to be indicated on the common portal.
  • The goods for which e-Way bill has been generated but not transported must be cancelled within 24 hours. However, if verified during transit, it cannot be cancelled.
  • The recipient of the consignment must either accept or reject the bills. In case of no alternate communication within 72 hours, the system will assume that the bill has been accepted.
  • The person-in-charge of the transportation of goods must carry certain documents for verification, like invoice or bill of supply.

The compliances associated with e-Way bills have been defined in a manner that is easy to follow. But, the question is:

How will this Impact the Industry?

At the first thought, the rules for e-Way Bill compliance appear easy enough to follow. And since most of it can be done online, it also aligns with the objective of a digitized economy. Many experts are of the opinion that e-Way bill can help improve the economy if its compliances are maintained flawlessly. The digitization of the documentation ensures easier verification and accountability. Here it is the responsibility of the government to make sure that the transition from pen-and-paper documentation to online documentation will be easy, given that many small towns in India do not have access to the internet.

Nevertheless, wise implementation of the e-Way Bills has the potential to not only reshape the logistics industry but also make the transportation of goods easier than ever. The sole responsibility of it lies on the shoulders of the government as to how they move ahead with it.

How Does E-way Bill Aid in the Logistic Troubles?

Nikhil Makharia

Nikhil has been in the logistics industry for over a decade and is an advocate of the implementation of e-way bills. Through periodic guest posts, he shares his views on the ongoings of the industry as well as his personal insights.

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