Dispatches by road transport under the goods and services tax (GST) was almost 15 per cent less than usual over the first 12 days of enforcing e-way bills for inter-state movement (of goods worth over Rs 50,000), say observers. This is also attributed to building of inventory by apprehensive traders till March 31. The enforcement began from April 1.
Truckers are neutralising this fall in dispatches through higher loading of agricultural produce, with early harvesting in this rabi season. Agricultural goods are exempt from GST and do not require generation of e-way bills. So, there was no incentive to build inventories of these.
However, that has also been somewhat hit in these 10-odd days by hailstorm and untimely rain. Overall, due to e-way bills and erratic weather, dispatches fell almost 30 per cent, says S P Singh coordinator, Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training.
Five states — Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala — are also scheduled to introduce e-way bills for intra-state movement of goods, beyond a km. These states accounted for 61 per cent of e-way bill generation till April 8, according to data from the GST Network (GSTN), the system’s information technology backbone. Karnataka introduced e-way bills for intra-state dispatches from April 1.
Till April 9, as many as 6.3 million e-way bills were generated, showed the data. This means 700,000 were generated a day, on average. Generation was low in the initial days and picked up later.
The e-way bill portal has capacity to handle 7.5 mn bills a day. GSTN expects generation of almost 2.6 mn a day once these are mandated intra-state, too. It built additional capacity, to avoid overloading and portal crash -- this had happened on February 1, the first day of the earlier rollout.
Abhishek Jain, partner at consultancy EY, said build-up of inventory was a short-term problem. It would not be there after another week or so. He said this had also built up prior to April 1 due to meeting of targets by companies as the financial year closed (March 31). Movement of goods on that account would gradually pick up, he said. Also, e-way bill generation will gather pace once all states roll it out for intra-state movement of goods.
All states are mandated to introduce intra-state movement of goods by May 30, in a phased manner.
Jain said the feedback from clients is that the portal was working well, even as there is additional compliance on generating the bill. M S Mani, partner at Deloitte India, said there had been no adverse feedback from any client. The real test would be from April 15, when five states begin intra-state dispatch enforcement, and then all other come on board in phases.