DS Mahajani *
Goods and Service Tax (GST), the national agenda for reforms under Indirect tax system is in news on daily basis. But this time it is for the wrong reasons. Yes, this is because on 13th April 2017, Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) released Draft Rules for Electronic Way Bill (“E-Way Bill”).
The major points of the Draft E-way Bill are as under –
After releasing the above Draft Rules, there is an uproar amongst trade and business in public domain as proposed E-Way Bill will cause unnecessary hassles in normal business transactions having consignment value exceeding Rs.50,000.
Rightly so, because as per one estimate road traffic accounts for 60% of freight traffic in India, where truck drivers are required to spend majority of their time at check posts. In the GST regime it was assumed that the check-posts will be done away with but now it looks like proposed E-way Bill would replace check-posts, which would cause lot of hardships to business community in the Country.
However, my interpretation on the above rules is that the proposed E-Way bill is not for all goods, but goods of special purposes under GST regime.
This is because Draft Rules for E-Way Bill is issued in continuation of Rule 8 of Draft Rules for Tax Invoice, Credit and Debit Notes put in public domain by CBEC on 2nd April 2017.
The web-link of the said Tax Invoice rules is as under –
Rule 8 of Tax Invoice, Credit and Debit Notes Rules is on ‘Transportation of goods without issue of invoice’. On combined reading of sub-rule (1) and (3) of Rule 8 it is clear that, where ‘goods’ are being transported on a delivery challan in lieu of invoice, the same shall be declared in FORM [WAYBILL].
Now which are the ‘goods’ here? These are given under sub-rule (1) of Rule 8 of Tax Invoice, that is –
(a) supply of liquid gas where the quantity at the time of removal from the place of business of the supplier is not known,
(b) transportation of goods for job work,
(c) transportation of goods for reasons other than by way of supply
Hence, on combined reading of sub-rule (1) and (3) of Rule 8 of (Draft) Tax Invoice Rules it is clear that for supply of liquid gas where the quantity at the time of removal from the place of business of the supplier is not known or transportation of goods for job work of transportation of goods for reasons other than by way of supply, E-Way shall be required.
Secondly, it is also to be observed that the Draft Rules of E-Way Bill does not mention (at the beginning) under which section or rule it is being issued (like draft rules for Tax Invoice are issued u/s 31 of CGST Act). Hence, at the beginning of the E-way Bill, if it mentioned that ‘this rules are issued pursuant to Rule 8 of Tax Invoice Rules’, it could have given clear idea about the E-Way Bill rules to all concerned.
Now, please read Draft E-Way Bill (as per below web-link) and compare it with Rule 8 of Draft Rules for Tax Invoices –
If above interpretation is correct, in that case considering the significant importance attached to the subject, CBEC should issue a clarification asap for knowledge of all stakeholders.
* The views expressed are strictly personal.
[Author: DS Mahajani, M.Com, A.C.S, A.C.M.A. He can be reached at DSMAHAJANI@YAHOO.COM]