The E-way bill roll-out date was preponed to February 1 from April 1 by the GST Council — but it backfired. The site crashed on the very first day of implementation, leading to the postponement of its roll-out back to the original date: April 1.
However, high-end servers were installed to handle the increased load on the system and can handle the peak load of 75 lakh E-way bills per day, the government told the Lok Sabha. The government also admitted to the lack of preparedness during the first launch of the E-way bill.
“Due to limited server capacity, the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure of the e-way bill system could not handle the load and crashed within few hours of operation on 1st February 2018,” Shiv Pratap Shukla, Minister of States for Finance, said in a written reply to a Lok Sabha question.
On February 1, only 4.5 lakhs E-way bills could be generated but now 75 lakh E-way bill generation can be handled per day through the upgraded system. Until July 30, a total of 7.59 crore E-way bills for intra-state movement and 7.82 crore E-way bills for inter-State movement of goods have been generated, the government said.
The E-way bill, which is mandatory for the movement of goods — inter-state and intra-state — with consignment value of Rs 50,000 or more, was launched with an aim to reduce tax evasion and ensure a unified process for seamless movement of goods across states.
While technical glitches seem to have been fixed, many transporters and businesses are facing other issues. Recently, a company was fined Rs 1.3 crore for not submitting complete details in Part B of the bill, which is mandatory for goods being transported for more than 50 km. The confusion is also over the valuation of goods, distance and who is responsible for generating the bill — consignor, consignee, transporter or other specified people.
Moreover, lack of precise intelligence from the centralised system is also forcing authorities to deploy manpower for tracking vehicles. Such random checks have led to nabbing of a few culprits but also threatening delays in the movement of transports. It could also give discretionary power to officials, which often lead to corruption and harassment.