GST Council looking at options to cut transit time of road cargo

Surabhi New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018

There are as many as 20 State and Central agencies that can stop trucks for checking

Hoping to cut down the transit time of road cargo under the goods and services tax (GST), the GST Council is understood to be looking at alternatives to physical verification of documents.

GST proposes to subsume a number of Central and State level taxes including Central excise duty, service tax, value added tax as also octroi and entry tax. It will also turn the country into an integrated market by cutting down border check posts and allowing for faster transport of freight.

But, pointing out that while the proposed e-way bill under GST would allow for seamless transport from the point of view of the commercial taxes, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has said checks on transportation documents would continue and would slow down traffic.

In fact, there are as many as 20 Central and State government agencies that can stop transport vehicles on the road for checking. These include officials of the RTO, VAT department, pollution control and forest department.

The Council is understood to have referred to a study that pointed out that while all vehicles on the roads are checked for documentation, the number of vehicles detained with non-compliant documentation is less than one per cent.

The Ministry has instead suggested using the ‘Vahan” and vehicle registration number databases as well as RFID tags to establish the identity of the vehicles and cut down on physical checks.

As the name suggests, an e-way bill is an online bill that will be used for inter-State supply of goods under GST. It will provide details of the consignor and the consignee as well as the origin and the destination of the cargo.

Sources said the issue is under discussion and a taskforce of officers may be set up to look at options. The Road Transport and Highways Ministry has also suggested that a joint meeting of the GST Council along with State Transport Minister should also be called on the issue.

Published on March 17, 2017

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