The government is yet to further extend the validity of e-way bills issued before April 15, which were initially allowed till April 30 to give leeway to goods stuck in transit. While government officials had decided to allow the extension till May 31, a decision to the effect has not been issued so far.
“There was a decision to extend, but the notification has not been issued with the extended date,” an official said.
Sector watchers and industry bodies said that the movement of goods between green and red zones in the country would have been impacted the most as authorities would have stopped goods at check posts and in some cases even detained the goods for the lack of having a valid e-way bill.
“Where date of expiry for waybills is not relaxed, more likely than not, goods may get stuck, as sending fresh e-way bills to transporters that are stranded could be challenging,” said Harpreet Singh, partner of indirect tax at KPMG India.
“Time is really of essence here and supply chain would have got impacted today after the relaxation from lockdown because in many cases goods may not have moved with expired e-way bills,” said Pratik Jain, partner at PwC India.
E-way bills are required by transporters for inter-state and intra-state movement of essential and non-essential goods upwards of ₹50,000. Early last month, the government had extended the validity of e-way bills issued before April 15, till April 30. However, with the third extension of the lockdown period till May 18, the corresponding change to the validity of e-way bills has not been made.
E-way bill generation nose-dived for the month of April to 67 lakh, compared to 4.06 crore in March 2020 and 5.71 crore in February 2020, as per data from Goods and Services Tax Network.
The data reflected the near-stagnation of movement of goods through the peak of the lockdown period.