India Inc’s first attempts to move goods across states after the easing of lockdown curbs were hobbled by expired e-way bills which made it near impossible for transporters to cross checkpoints. E-way bills issued before April 15 were initially extended till April 30 to allow movement of goods stuck in transit.

Later, officials decided to extend it till May 31 but this has not been notified as yet. “There was a decision to extend, but the notification has not been issued with the extended date,” an official told ET. Sector watchers and industry bodies said 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 held back ..

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 who are stranded could be challenging,” said Harpreet Singh, partner, indirect tax, KPMG India. Pratik Jain, partner, PwC India said, “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.”

E-way bills are required by transporters for inter- and intra-state movement of essential and non-essential goods worth Rs 50,000 and more. They are issued by tax authorities after due payment and remain valid for a certain period. 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 17, the corresponding change to the validity of e-way bills has not been made.

The extension (of e-way bill validity) was something we had flagged to the GST Council through our representation… it would benefit many that are stuck due to the lockdown,” said DK Aggarwal, president, PHD Chamber.