Carrying Goods Across India and the E-way Bill

Last year the government introduced the goods and services tax or GST as it is popularly called, is a reform designed to group together all the service charges and other cesses. One of the major departments it affected is the road transport department. The roads are a pathway for a majority of goods and supplies moving in and out of the country and keeping a track of all the movement can be quite the task. The government had in place a bill called the e-way bill which was designed to track the progress of the consignment and it replaced the older hard copy waybill.

E-way Bill

The older bill was designed to be issued at the source and collected at arrival, thus affirming that the goods have indeed reached their destination. The tracking, however, was not the most efficient as one could no ascertain where the shipment had been. The introduction of the E-way bill changed things, it could efficiently track the progress of the carrier and check if it took any unwanted detours and if it deviated from the path to the destination.

At a single point in time, there are over millions of tonnes of goods moving in and around the country, and each of which may not have a great value. Therefore, it would only make sense to keep a surcharge above a certain amount for the E-way bill. It was decided that if the value of the goods exceeded 50000Rs, it would be required for the carrier to produce an E-way bill; failure to do this would result in a fine of nearly 200% of the GST. There are certain exceptions for good whose worth is above 50000Rs and do not require an E-way bill. Specified goods, movement from ports to customs and usage of non-motor vehicles are cases where a bill is not required.

The most major impact of this bill is to the three stakeholders of the goods being ferried across the country.  The suppliers, recipients, and transporter have to equally contribute towards the E-way bill. The GST E-way bill generation can be done on a mobile phone or a computer, the most preferred way of being that of via mobile phones. This is the best way to track the consignment as the key requirement while registering via a mobile phone is the IMEI number of the phone.

For safety measures and other purposes, a fair bit of data is required to complete the registration process of an E-way bill. One’s address, phone number, trade number, GSTIN number and even truck registration number are all required to be added to the bill. This ensures that the bill is not transferable and thus eliminating the risk of fraudulent activities. Such a bill is important for the government and for the budget; a simple lapse in administration can cause huge losses for the government.

India is a fast evolving country and on a path to great progress, implementing simple yet efficient rules and regulations such as this can help eliminate frauds and corruption. The E-way bill is a way to keep track of all goods and supplies being carried across the country.

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