A truck stops at a toll booth at a toll plaza on NH 8 in Manesar. Photographer: Udit Kulshrestha/Bloomberg

Revenue Department Plans Linking E-Way Bill With FASTag, Logistics Data Bank To Check GST Evasion

The revenue department is planning to integrate e-way bill with The National Highways Authority of India’s FASTag mechanism and Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor’s Logistics Data Bank services, to facilitate faster movement of goods and check the Goods and Service Tax evasion.

The proposal, according to officials, will improve operational efficiencies across the country's logistic landscape.

Currently, lack of harmonisation under the "track and trace" mechanism in terms of sharing information among different agencies is affecting the ease of doing business in the country. Besides, it is also impacting the logistic costs of the companies.

The proposal, being worked out by the revenue department, will also help in preventing GST evasion by unscrupulous traders who take advantage of the loopholes in the supply chain, an official told PTI.

Touted as an anti-evasion measure, e-way bill system was rolled out on April 1, for moving goods worth over Rs 50,000 from one state to another. The same for intra or within the state movement was rolled out in a phased manner from April 15.

Transporters of goods worth over Rs 50,000 would be required to present e-way bill during transit to a GST inspector, if asked.

"The integration of the e-way bill system with FASTag and Logistics Data Bank is expected to help boost tax collections by clamping down on trade that currently happens on cash basis," the official said.

NHAI has put in place the FASTag system for collection of toll electronically on national highways. FASTag also offers non-stop movement of vehicles through toll plazas.

Integration of e-way bill with FASTag will help revenue authorities track the movement of vehicles and ensure that they are travelling to the same destination as the transporter or the trader had specified while generating the e-way bill.

It will also help the suppliers locate goods through the e-way bill system. Transporters, too, would be able to track their vehicles through SMS alerts that would be generated at each toll plaza.

Similarly, Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor's container tracking services, also called LDB programme, would be integrated with the e-way bill to improve the logistics ecosystem.

The official said that the implementation of the proposal would require inter-ministerial coordination as integration would have several operational and technical challenges.

The new indirect tax regime GST was rolled out on July 1, 2017. With GST systems now stabilising, the focus of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs is now on increasing compliance and checking evasion.

The government has also set up the Directorate General of GST Intelligence to investigate cases of tax evasion and conduct search and seizure operations under the GST Act, and erstwhile the Excise and Service Tax Act.