E-way bill: The Killer App or Killing fields?

February 20, 2023

After much hint that e-way will be implemented after 2019- GST council in a sudden U-turn has decided to roll it out in February 2018 !!

Following seem to be triggers:

  • Massive drop in GST revenue from average of 90,000 cr. to 80,000 cr. in last two months
  • States are suspecting massive misreporting and inflated input credit - ghost trucks moving with imaginary input material only on paper !!
  • Thus, multiple state governments started notifying e-way bill to track vehicles getting in and out of their state- for example UP, Rajasthan and Karnataka
  • Elections- with Gujarat behind them, every party now wants to move to serious business of getting GST right- remember EVERYONE loses revenue

How is it supposed to work?

  1. As a shipper you make an Invoice, upload in GSTN as GSTR1
  2. Transporter updates GSTR1 online and converts into e-way bill
  3. AT the time of delivery, consignee will update receipt and delivery details- closing e-way bill

Eeverything online. Simple and beautiful !! BUT.....

  • Manufacturing and Logistics Operations work 24X7 but their back offices close at 7 pm- so how will this \"beautiful\" coordination work?
  • Large manufacturing company can may be automate GSTR1 update in GSTN- what about smaller ones?
  • Most logistics companies still work on 19th century IT systems, if they actually have one (The names that we know- DTDC, Rivigo, Gati, TCI account for less than 1% of market)
  • What about transshipment- a parcel moving from Ludhiana offloaded at Delhi then sent to Nagpur onwards to Bangalore- will that need separate e-way bill for each leg?

As of this writing- NO GST Service Provider (GSP) has any clue on proposed system technology- APIs, software, SOPs etc. So who will deploy all this tech?

So get ready for another roller coaster of postponements, amendments, clarifications, transport strikes !! Manish Sisodia is already on record that Delhi will not deploy e-way bill - One Nation, One Tax?

Welcome to Ease of Doing Business Land !!