THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The E-Way Bill, a GST component finance minister Dr Thomas Isaac has been desperately clamouring for, to check inter-state smuggling, will come into force from February 1. But the virtual bill system, as the State GST department has now realised, will not be enough to check the illegal flow of inter-state goods movement. For this to happen, the E-Way bill will have to be complemented by a surveillance system. The plan is to mount surveillance cameras on checkposts located in the five major inter-state border points, namely Walayar (Palakkad), Amaravila (Thiruvananthapuram), Manjeshwaram (Kasargod), Muthanga (Wayanad), and Aryankavu (Kollam) within a month.
These cameras will be so positioned to capture all the entry points. "Any goods vehicle that crosses the border into the state will be caught on camera, and its registration number noted. The computer will then try to match the number with an existing invoice in the GST Network. If there is no match, it means that the vehicle has got in illegally. Alerts will be quickly sent to mobile flying squads across the state to stop and search the vehicle," a top GST department official said. The vehicle number is an important feature of the E-Way Bill. The personnel at the checkposts have now been redeployed in the mobile intelligence squads of the GST department.
The finance minister has frequently lamented that in the absence of E-Way bills, traders are finding it easy to transport goods from other states without paying taxes, causing huge revenue loss to the state. With the GST in force, the 70-odd check posts have been deserted. "The GST being a destination-based tax, every consignment that is bound for the state means money to the state's coffers unlike earlier when the tax was paid in the state where the business was generated," the official said.
The E-Way Bill is required if the inter-state movement of goods is beyond 10 km, and the goods transported are worth more than Rs 50,000. E-Way Bill can be generated by the supplier, recipient or the transporter. The state had begun trial run of the E-Way Bill system on January 12. "We have already generated one lakh E-Way bills," said taxes commissioner Dr Rajan N. Khobragade....