Courier companies say e-way bills defeat the GST spirit

Rs 20,000-crore industry will end up doing 10 crore e-way bills per day for their 3 crore parcels.

Mumbai: Express logistics players today hit out against the e-way bills provision under GST, saying the extra paperwork and processes is contrary to the spirit of the tax reform and threatens the industry's survival.

"Under GST, the idea is to reduce the processes and introduce the 'one country one tax' regime. E-way bills go against the also threatens our survival," Express Industry Council of India chief operating officer Vijay Kumar told PTI over phone.

Kumar said all the benefits of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be lost because of e-way bills, and the country risks slipping back on the global logistics performance index.

He explained that under the e-way bills framework, a new document is to be generated at every level of trans- shipment of an article and said the Rs 20,000-crore industry will end up doing 10 crore e-way bills per day for their 3 crore parcels.

Kumar said the e-way bill provision has been decided by the GST Council and will be implemented in six months, and a transition arrangement is being worked out for the interim period from July 1, when the country moves to GST.

The industry has also made its case to the GST Council, and Ministries of Commerce and Civil Aviation on this aspect, but is yet to get any positive response, he said.

"We operate on a hub and spoke model and there are at least 3-4 trans-shipments for every article that we deliver. This is an extremely impractical provision," Kumar said.

Stating that tracking a commodity seems to be the motivation for introducing this provision, Kumar said the airway bill or lorry receipts which is given by every company is a better way of tracking the movement, which gives all the necessary details of a consignment.

He said the country gained 19 places to become the 35th best place in the world for the logistics industry in 2016, and warned that implementing such a proposal can make it slip back. It can be noted that accounting software provider Tally Solutions had also raised concerns on the e-way bill earlier.

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