The Goods and Services Tax Council will meet on Dec. 16 to discuss the nationwide rollout of e-way bills for transporting goods earlier than planned, two officials in the know told BloombergQuint requesting anonymity.
The meeting — to be held via video-conferencing — is aimed at exploring ways to boost GST revenues by plugging loopholes, the officials above said.
In an earlier meeting on Oct. 6, the Council had decided that e-way bill — an electronic document generated on the GST Network portal — would be introduced in a staggered manner from Jan. 1, and will be rolled out nationwide from April 1. The need to review the rollout timeline stems from revenue shortfall.
The GST revenue for October stood at Rs 83,346 crore, the lowest compared to the first three months since the new indirect tax regime was implemented. One of the reasons cited for the shortfall was postponing e-way bills which hurt tax compliance, according to a press release issued by the government on Nov. 27.
The government can introduce the e-way bill mechanism to curb non-compliance, Sumit Lunker, indirect tax partner at PwC India told BloombergQuint. But some necessary changes should be made like making them applicable only for inter-state transfer of goods, he said.
An e-way bill is required for movement of goods worth more than Rs 50,000. When goods are transported for less than 10 kilometres within the state, the supplier or the transporter need not furnish details on the portal.
The plan to implement e-way bills comes even as the Law Advisory Committee set up by the Ministry of Finance recently recommended deferring electronic way bills till 2019, and suggested the government should consider an alternative to such bills. The panel was constituted on Nov. 2, and submitted its recommendations to Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia on Dec. 5.