The government is looking at integrating the electronic toll collection system FASTag and the Logistic Databank (LDB) project with e-way bills to better track the movement of goods and curb GST evasion, Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha on Monday. Sitharaman was replying to a question from Raksha Khadse, the MP from Maharashtra’s Raver constituency (read her full question and Sitharaman’s reply below). Similar to FASTag, in which RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) Tags are attached to cars for automatic toll payments, the LDB project helps importers and exporters track shipping containers through RFID tags. The e-way bill system, touted as a way to prevent GST evasion, was rolled out on April 1, 2018 for moving goods worth over Rs 50,000 from one state to another, and in a phases from April 15 for goods moving within states.
GST Council committee to examine use of RFID data for e-way bills
- Sitharaman added in her reply that the GST Council had formed a committee, comprising officers from the Central Government, State Governments, GSTN (Goods and ServicesTax Network), NIC (National Informatics Centre), GST Council, to examine how RFID data could be used to strengthen the e-way bill mechanism under GST.
- Representatives of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) were also included in the committee.
- It recommended integrating FASTags with e-way bills in its report, which is currently under consideration by the Council.
- Another committee, comprising the Central Board and Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), NHAI & its associates, NPCI, GSTN, NIC, Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation (DMICDC) & its associates was formed to examine the feasibility of integrating FASTag with LDB. This committee, too, had submitted its report, which is being examined, Sitharaman wrote.
The government has been looking into integrating FASTag and LDB with e-way bills for some time now. The Economic Times reported in January that the revenue department had set up a committee to integrate e-way bills, FASTags and DMIC’s Logistics Data Bank (LDB) services after consulting with transporters. It cited an unnamed official as saying that some transporters were found to be making multiple trips using a single e-way bill, and that integrating these will FASTag would eliminate the practice. He said that the integration was likely to happen by April, but Sitharaman’s answer shows that this could still be some way off.