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E-way relief, for now, to e-commerce, courier firms sending small orders
March, 13th 2018

Small orders that are part of a large consignment of multiple deliveries will not require generation of an electronic-way bill from April 1. A relief to e-commerce, courier companies and the like. Only, this relaxation might be temporary.

At its meeting on Saturday, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council decided to make it mandatory for inter-state movement of goods worth over Rs 50,000 to have e-way bills from April 1. The requirement for such bills in intra-state movement would be implemented in a phased manner.

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Giving details of the decision, the finance ministry said, "At present (from April 1), there is no requirement to generate an e-way bill where an individual consignment value is less than Rs 50,000, even if the transporter is carrying goods worth than Rs 50,000 in a single conveyance."

This essentially means if a truck out for delivery is carrying 20 orders, of which four are priced over Rs 50,000, only four e-way bills will need to be generated.

Pratik Jain, partner at consultants PwC India, said this would help transporters, specially those carrying small e-commerce, courier and food items.

However, the ministry also said provisions for making the e-way bill mandatory for these small orders, contained in sub-rule (7) of rule 138, is to be notified from a later date.

Vishal Sharma, senior vice-president, ShopClues, said," this move should be made permanent."

He said the step would boost the growth of MSME sector.

The validity of an e-way bill is one day, ending at midnight of the day immediately following the date of generation. The Council has now provided relief from this requirement in certain situations.

The ministry said: “If the goods cannot be transported within the validity period of the e-way bill, the transporter may extend the validity period in case of trans-shipment or in case of circumstances of an exceptional nature."

Sources said this means a bill’s validity will be extended if a truck is held up at a warehouse for more than 24 hours. “It will be treated as an extraordinary situation if a truck needs to be stopped for one or two days at a warehouse. That period will be excluded," one of the sources added.

An e-way bill has two parts, A and B. The former captures invoice-related details. B has details related to the transporter carrying the consignment, such as vehicle number, etc.

Earlier, there was some confusion on what would happen to the movement of goods on a bill-to-ship-to-supply basis. Which means goods are dispatched to a location different from the place of the person or entity ordering the consignment. For instance, a person in Chandigarh orders goods from Hyderabad to be delivered to Delhi. There was confusion on whether the e-way bill was to be generated twice, once from Hyderabad to Delhi and once to Chandigarh. This was because the place of dispatch was not reflected in the bill in this case.

ClearTax chief executive Archit Gupta said the Council had cleared this confusion. Now, movement of goods on account of bill-to-ship-to supply will be handled through the capturing of place of dispatch in part-A of the e-way bill.

Also, movement of goods from the place of consignor to the place of transporter up to a distance of 50 km does not require filling of part-B of the bill. They have to generate only part-A. In the draft rules, the distance in this case was limited to 10 km.

The slowing of GST revenues had prompted the Council to advance introduction of th ee-way bill to February 1. However, this had to be postponed after the portal crashed on the first day.

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