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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

The Hindu Editorial : Back on track

Mahendra Guru

What is e-way bill?

It is an electronic documentation detailing the movement of goods and has to be carried by transporters for any consignment exceeding Rs50,000 in value. 

It can be generated from the GSTN (Goods and Service Tax Network ) set up for the e-way bill system by the transporter before the movement of goods begins. 

The e-way bill’s validity varies depending on the distance that the goods have to travel. Typically, the bill’s validity is one day for every 100km of movement of goods.

Is it mandatory for all movement of goods?

The GST e-way bill is mandatory from 1 April for all inter-state transport of goods valued above Rs50,000. It will be made compulsory for the moving goods within a state in a phased manner from 15 April. 

Some goods that are out of the e-way bill’s ambit include perishable items such as meat, milk and milk products and fruits and vegetables. Other items that don’t need an e-way bill are gold and silver jewellery, cooking gas cylinders, raw silk, wool and handlooms.

Title: Back on track

(As the GST e-way bill system is scaled up, the authorities must remain flexible)

After an aborted attempt in February, the government has finally managed to successfully roll out the e-way bill system for tracking the movement of goods under the Goods and Services Tax net from April 1. 

No major execution challenges have been reported by businesses so far, and the IT backbone that generates the e-way bills — that are now required even before goods are loaded for transport — has so far held up without glitches. 

On the first two days of the e-way system, which included a Sunday, 5.5 lakh e-way bills were generated, and the GST Network has said that the system is now geared to cope with a much higher capacity.

Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia expects collections to pick up further as the authorities get a better sense of who is regularly filing returns and paying taxes.

Everyone’s fingers are crossed that the e-way bill portal, which now has over 20,000 registered transporters and 11 lakh taxpayers, will hold up, going forward. 

It is important to note that since the system for tracking inter-State movement of goods was launched at the beginning of a financial year, the actual load that the portal will have to bear on a normal business day may be much higher than the initial trends. 

This is because many businesses had already moved and stocked up goods by March 31, ahead of the system kicking in, and are still completing usual year-end processes such as recording closing stock. 

A staggered schedule for rolling out e-way bills for intra-State trade in a few States at a time is expected soon. 

Given that India’s transport sector is still largely unorganised and many vehicle drivers are not fully conversant with the technical nuances, it is important that anti-evasion squads deployed to check e-way bills operate with a light touch to start with, and limit the frequency of inspections for goods moving across States. 

Else, the system could end up creating a bottleneck for transporting goods in a country where goods movement already takes inordinately long due to infrastructure deficiencies.

Title: Launch lessons 

(There is no such thing as total failure; ISRO should learn from its satellite launch problem)

The loss of communication between the ground station and the Indian Space Research Organisation’s latest satellite after its launch on March 29 is deeply disappointing. ISRO’s mission aimed to place the communication satellite, GSAT-6A, in space. 

However, shortly after the second orbit-raising operation, the ground station lost track of the satellite on March 31, when it was on course for the final firing. 

Understanding why this happened is crucial. A launch operation can be simplified into the initial three stages, during which the satellite is boosted to different heights by the launch vehicle and then placed in a geosynchronous transfer orbit. 

This is an elliptical orbit into which a satellite is placed initially before being transferred into a geosynchronous orbit where it maintains a position above a fixed longitude. 

This is why it is being conjectured that the failure occurred because of a flaw outside the launch vehicle, the GSLV, perhaps from a short circuit or power glitch within the satellite itself.

The GSLV has had several successes in the past, and this is its 12th flight.

It had been reported that the mission would be a testing ground for ISRO’s next moon mission. Given this background, ISRO should be open about the specific learning points from this launch exercise. 

Space science is exciting not just for the experts, but to many outside the field. Therefore, it is important that the agency presents itself more openly to the world.

Vocabulary words:
Scale up (phrasal verb) = To make something larger (उचित अनुपात में बड़ा)

Abort (verb) = Terminate, end (विकास में अवरोध होना)

Glitch (noun) = A sudden or temporary malfunction (खामियां)

Revival (noun) = An improvement (पुनः प्रवर्तन)

Comply (verb) = Observe, execute (पालन करना)

Bounty (noun) = A sum paid by the state to encourage trade 

Stagger (verb) = Walk or move steadily (लड़खड़ाहट)

Conversant (adj) = Familiar with or knowledge about something (परिचित)

Nuance (noun) = A subtle difference (अति सूक्ष्म अंतर)

Inordinately (adv) = Extravagantly (असंयम से)

Perigee (noun) = The point in the orbit of the moon or a satellite at which it is nearest to the earth (भू-समीपक)

Apogee (noun) = A climax, culmination (पराकाष्ठा)

Conjecture (verb) = Guess, speculate (अनुमान)

Feat (noun) = Achievement that requires great courage 

Devoid (adj) = Entirely lacking or deprived of (वंचित)


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