Bill that paves an ‘e-way’ for seamless movement of goods ..........................................
The roll out of an e-Way Bill system in the country was announced last year. Through the bill the logistics sector will monitor inter-state and intra-state movement of goods and cut transportation time by reducing loss of time at check posts. Industry exp
Samir J Shah Partner JBS Group of Companies POSITIVES
Any standardisation is always good. There could be a time gap for users to adapt to the changes. A single mandatory document is the right step in improving speed, efficiency and ease of doing business. India is a large country; technology and standards together alone would bring about the desired change. If there is a proper mix of technology and standards the multiple states or the crosscultural working styles cannot be impediments in smooth transportation. Ease of doing business would initiate lesser controls and a standard operating process. Technology would replace the processes. Reduction of processes results in reduced human interface and consequently have lesser chances of misinterpretation or different interpretations.
Vineet Agarwal Managing Director, TCI Group POSITIVES
Electronic way bill primarily pushed by all states, is an effort to identify the place of consumption and thus the GST implication. This initiative will enable clear visibility to all the stakeholders boosting proper collection of GST and avoid any shortcuts. This digital documentation process will ensure accountability and easier verification. Recording of every stock transfer and sale will be done through the system linkages to physical movement of trucks and storage in warehouses and there will be transparency across all transactions.
Coming to the challenges part: verification of e-way bill and necessary documentation can lead to delays at various points. Secondly, it is challenging for unorganised players to get oriented to the new system. The timeline or the validity of the e-way bill is not practical in some circumstances. Following, several modes of transports are used by E-com retailers and large commodity players and manufacturers for right time delivery and in such case fresh e-way bill must be generated every time depending on the mode of transport which will end up maintaining multiple bills. Lastly, the process of audit and checking process is not clear; it may lead to bureaucratic hurdles.
Gagandeep S Klaire Director, Majha Transport POSITIVES
It been long overdue in implementing the e- way bill, as the true success of GST goal would only show post e-way bill implementation. It would also help in widening the tax bracket kitty for the government eventually. I don’t feel that there would be problem for a transporter in following its compliances, provided one has always followed a clean systematic internal process in origination.
Whereas, it does have few fundamental problems with regard to some of its rule, which would, over a short period, get clarity. Some of them are: distance validity of e-way bill remains same even if goods are supplied through multimodal transport. For example, tiles moving through coastal from Morbi to Kolkata have current average transit of 20-25 days, which is well over the timeline given by the government. I believe there should be some transit validity relaxation given to this mode. Practical problems like generating e-way for goods moving to weighment bridge, considering the practical difficulties, the government should consider giving relaxation in such cases.
Vineet Kanaujia Vice President – Marketing Safexpress POSITIVES
E-Waybill aims to increase the transparency levels in business in bringing down the tax avoidance levels. Given the volume of supply chain and logistics industry in India, compliance will be extremely challenging to start with. E-Waybill will enable dual benefits of better and improved tax compliance in the industry as well as smooth transit of goods throughout India. We welcome e-Waybill as it aligns with the decade-old ‘Go Green’ programme of Safexpress. In our company, reduced use of paper via use of technology is an important part of our goal of reducing our carbon footprint. In my opinion, e-Waybill is a great initiative towards making the planet a better place. The e-Waybill provision comes as a positive change. It will encourage more unorganised players to utilise their vehicles to most optimised limits. Most importantly, it will prevent the unorganised players in the logistics industry from evading tax due to proper reporting and compliance. Safexpress is a technologically driven company and has an advanced IT infrastructure in place, with over 5500 GPS-enabled vehicles connected to an advance data analytics system for better engagement with customers. Safexpress is well prepared to migrate to the e-Waybill business environment.
As the industry is still largely unorganised in India, ensuring compliance will be a daunting task for government.
Shruti Singh COO Indus B2B Solutions CHALLENGES
With the intra-state e-way bill now scheduled to start from February 1 in 15 states instead of June 1, companies said they are not yet prepared for the development and expect disruptions in supply chain. While we had prepared our systems and stakeholders for the inter-state e-way bill from February 1, there is unpreparedness in trade and from our logistics partners for the intra-state implementation of the e-way bill in less than a fortnight in 15 states. This is a big cause for concern for us now. Starting February 1, the e-way bill will anyway be mandatory for every inter-state movement of goods beyond 10 km with a value of `50,000 and above. Very large volumes of e-way bills will have to be supported by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) portal, which, many industry officials said, may not be able to handle the load. With days left for the rollout of the intra-state e-way on February 1, several logistics and e-commerce companies are seeking clarifications on the new system, fearing operational inefficiencies and supply-chain disruptions. Understanding of the rules by stakeholders including small traders and transporters is also a worry. The e-way bills further dilute the benefits accruing out of an efficient GST model, simply because the matching envisaged through the GSTN portal has not successfully happened.
E-commerce firms fear a massive load on operational efficiencies and undue delays in delivery if there is an additional generation of e-way bill beyond the done when transporter comes to pick up shipment. The Central Board of Excise and Customs has issued an FAQ clarifying that a second e-way bill in case of smaller consignments would not be necessary. The clarification has failed to be recognised on ground with states such as Karnataka and Maharashtra continuing to seek generation of the bill from transporters at state borders.