Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said GST rollout will not be impacted by any delay in security clearance to GST Network, the IT backbone provider for the new indirect tax system. “It (GSTN) is already functioning,” he told reporters here. Security clearance to GSTN is a “procedural matter”. “These are all procedural matters, they go on,” he said. “That doesn’t defer the (GST rollout).” It won’t derail “the fate of Constitution amendment”, he said. The GST Constitutional (101st Amendment) Act 2016 mandates introduction of a national Goods and Services Tax in India. The Centre and states have agreed to roll out the new indirect tax regime, which will subsume excise, service tax, VAT and other local levies, from July 1.
However, the home ministry has still not given security clearance to GSTN, which is a non-government, private limited company, incorporated on March 28, 2013. The government of India holds 24.5 per cent equity in GSTN and all states, including NCT of Delhi and Puducherry, and the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers, together hold another 24.5 per cent. The balance 51 per cent equity is with non-government financial institutions — HDFC, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance Ltd. BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has on multiple occasions raised concerns over GSTN’s shareholding pattern, saying it might compromise data security.