The government is considering a proposal to make e-way bills necessary for transportation of precious metals like gold to stop malpractices and check revenue leakage, two officials said requesting anonymity. Under the GST’s e-way bill system, the movement of goods requires registration from pickup to drop points. The GST Council, an apex federal body for matters related to indirect taxes, is expected to consider the proposal at its meeting in Goa on September 20. The Union finance minister chairs the GST Council and it has state finance ministers as its members. The officials said Kerala has mooted the proposal of making e-way bills mandatory for movement of precious stones and metals even as the Law Committee rejected an idea for doing so citing “security and law and order” in June. In July, the matter was again sent for the reconsideration of the committee, which is an advisory body of the GST Council.
The panel has about two dozen members, mainly tax officials. Email queries sent to the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs and the Union finance ministry about the proposal went unanswered. The officials cited above said Kerala has repeatedly flagged the issue and is unconvinced that e-way bills for gold and other precious items will pose security threats and create law and order problems. Kerala has sought e-way bills to check revenue leakages. According to the officials, the Law Committee has put up two options before the GST Council. The first option is to make e-way bills mandatory through encrypted mode. Under this option, data related to the movement of such goods will be stored in a server and only authorised officials could have access to it. This will address the security concern. The other option is to continue with the existing exemption from the requirement of e-way bills as these goods are often transported personally or privately through the traditional couriers called ‘angadia’. It has been underlined that insistence on e-way bills for these items will increase the compliance burden for workers, the officials said.