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By Shishir Sinha
The e-Way bill, which currently gives only details of the value of goods being transported, may be packed with more data — for instance, on the vehicle’s fitness, insurance paid and pollution under control certification.
Based on a suggestion from an inter-ministerial task force, the GST Council has asked the GSTN to work on this proposal in the belief that this will eliminate all check posts and any “undue harassment” by regional transport authorities, and facilitate smooth movement of commercial vehicles.
The new system is expected to be in place within next six months. Since it requires the involvement of Regional Transport Authorities (RTO), the task force report was circulated to all the States on July 17 and discussed by the GST Council at its July 21 meeting.
According to officials, however, some RTOs are yet to be fully computerised whereas the proposed system requires everyone to be online. At the core of the proposal is the integration of the e-Way bill system with VAHAN (the national vehicle registry, which collates information from road transport authorities for access by citizens and regulators) and SARATHI (the data base of driving licences).
For this, the task force has suggested that there be real-time updates of data by RTOs in both the applications.
The fields in the VAHAN and SARATHI databases can further be expanded to capture details of pollution checks, national permit, and so on.
Once the e-Way bill database is integrated with the VAHAN database, whenever the transporter fills up the registration details in Part B of FORM GST EWB-01, information on the vehicle fitness, third party insurance, PUC and national permit, drawn from the VAHAN database, can be auto populated in the e-Way bill.
The task force also recommended that to facilitate checking of vehicles, the information captured from e-Way bill, VAHAN, SARATHI, and National Crime Record Bureau databases should be shared with relevant agencies on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.
It also believed that with the abolition of State VAT and entry tax, there is no need for a permit system. “State permits and national permits can be abolished.
The loss of permit fees can be compensated by enhancing the fees or registration or at periodical fitness certificates,” it said.
The task force said that keeping check-posts for checking the fitness of the vehicle, PUC, payment of road tax and so on should be done away with. “Vehicles may be mandated to get fitness certificates from the transport office,” it said. With the introduction of a uniform e-Way bill, a multi-sector approach will smoothen the transport of goods, it added.
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