Govt notifies e-way bill, exempts more mass consumption goods

The government has notified the electronic way (e-way) bill, exempting certain items of mass consumption, including fruits, vegetables, food grains, meat, bread, curd, books, and jewellery, reported the Economic Times.

Other items outside the ambit of the e-way bill include contraceptives, judicial and non-judicial stamp paper, newspapers, khadi, raw silk, Indian flag, human hair, kajal, earthen pots, cheques, municipal waste, pujasamagri, LPG, kerosene, heating aids, and currency.

The goods and services tax (GST) regime, rolled out from July 1, mandates obtaining permits called e-way bills for transporting goods consignments of more than Rs 50,000 in value with a view to checking tax evasion.

In its meeting on August 5, the GST Council approved a list of 153 items that have been exempted from the requirement of obtaining e-way bills. These include domesticated animals like live bovine animals, swine and fish, fruits and vegetables, fresh milk, honey, seeds, cereals and flour. Also exempted are the movement of betel leaves, non-alcoholic toddy, raw silk, khadi, earthen pot and clay lamps, puja samagri, and hearing aids. Human hair, semen, including frozen semen, and condoms and contraceptives have also been exempted.

An e-way bill is not required if goods are transported by non-motorised conveyances. Goods transported from international ports to hinterland ports for clearance by customs have also been exempted from the requirement. The electronic permit would have to be generated when consignment value exceeds Rs 50,000 and is optional if the value is less than that.

The provision would kick-in from a date to be notified by the central government after the backbone software for generating such permits is made ready by the National Informatics Centre. The software is likely to be ready by October.

The e-way bills, which can be checked by designated tax officials by intercepting a transporting vehicle, are aimed at helping authorities keep track of goods and inter-state commerce. This is particularly useful when most states have dismantled border checkposts that operated under the previous indirect tax administrations, thereby reducing the time needed for the movement of goods across states.

To generate an e-way bill, the supplier and transporter will have to upload details on the GSTN portal, after which a unique EBN will be made available to the supplier, the recipient, and the transporter on the common portal.