E-waybill implementation mandatory but staggered

By L Badri Narayanan and Asish Philip Abraham, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan
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When the GST Council met for the 24th time on 16 December 2017, via video conferencing, the main item on the agenda was to notify the much-awaited e-waybill rules. The e-waybill is a powerful mechanism which can help keep a check on revenue leakage by tracking the movement and consumption of goods. Implementation of the e-waybill is also expected to reduce transportation costs and ease the movement of goods across state borders.

L Badri NarayananPartnerLakshmikumaran & Sridharan
L Badri Narayanan
Partner
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan

Pending the coming into force of the national e-waybill system, all states were authorized to continue with their own system, if any. In September 2017, the Karnataka government implemented its own e-waybill system for the movement of goods. In the October 2017 GST Council meeting, it was said that the e-waybill rules would be implemented in a staggered manner starting from 1 April 2018. However, owing to the success of the Karnataka system, transporters and traders filed a representation for a similar e-waybill to be implemented nationwide, as they were facing problems across the country for inter-state movement of goods. The e-waybill will reduce paperwork and the need for separate waybills for transit in each state. This will also eventually lead to the elimination of check posts.

In its 24th meeting, the GST Council announced various dates for implementation of the e-waybill. India’s finance minister stated that the nationwide e-waybill system would be ready to be rolled out on a trial basis by 16 January 2018 at the latest. Traders and transporters could start using this system on a voluntary basis from 16 January. “Subsequently, the rules for implementation of nationwide e-way bill system for inter-state movement of goods on a compulsory basis will be notified with effect from February 1, 2018,” the minister said.

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L Badri Narayanan is a partner and Asish Philip Abraham is a joint partner at Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan.

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