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18 Jun 2024, Edition - 3262, Tuesday

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How to evade the modern day e-way bill? Turn back to historic ways of goods transport



The e-way bill system under the GST regime was rolled out with promises to help traders and economy – no more waiting transporters at toll booths, no more harassment by corrupt octroi officials, and the taxes on goods movement get paid. This was ultimately meant to help Indian economy with cutting the losses it suffered due to sluggish movement of goods while putting a cap on tax evasion. But it seems the traders have found a way to dodge the system that was supposed to help them.

To avoid paying GST on movement of goods, traders are now shipping their merchandise using animal-drawn carts and manual carts as e-way bill is not charged on goods transport via non-motorised vehicles, a report by Financial Express said. According to provisions under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, traders will have to get an e-way bill issued over movement of goods in a vehicle valued at or over Rs 50,000. But this rule does not apply to goods being hauled in non-motorised vehicles and certain items like fruits, vegetables, fish and water.

Traders are using the non-motorised vehicles to move goods beyond the exemption limit of Rs 50,000. In case of Punjab, the report said, traders are using animal-drawn carts to transport construction material and heavy furniture using animal-drawn carts. Nilesh Shah, MD, Kotak Mahindra Mutual Fund, tweeted an image of one such instance from Ludiana published in a newspaper with the caption, “What can one say?”

E-way bill is an online generated documented mandated under GST regime for movement of goods across state boundaries. It has replaced several challans, transit passes, and road permits, and can easily be generated or cancelled through its official website or mobile application. Any consignment valued above Rs 50,000 needs to be pre-registered by the person in charge of the transportation, either the seller or the buyer. It can be used to track the movement of goods for the purpose of tax evasion.

Notably, The e-way bill roll out on April 1 was credited with the improvement in GST compliance during the month. The GST collection for the month of April collected in May amounted to Rs 94,016 crore, compared to the average Rs 89,885 crore recorded in 2017-18.

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