Convinced that goods and services tax (GST) data should be under government control, the GST Council will take up a proposal to increase the Centre’s and state governments’ shareholding in the firm to ensure the controlling stake of GST Network (GSTN) is vested with the government, officials said.
The quantum of stake to be increase is still being decided but an official said the council could approve that the government take over the entire company and hold 100% stake in it. The 27th GST Council meeting is yet to be scheduled.
Currently, the Centre and state governments each hold 24.5% stake in the company. The remaining 51% is held by HDFC, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance.
GSTN acts as the IT backbone for the new indirect tax regime. It is also a repository of sensitive information of over 1 crore taxpayers. “At the time of set-up, it was felt that GSTN needed to have the flexibility and freedom of a private company but concerns related to sanctity of data with a private company are being addressed now,” a finance minister official said.
One of the prominent voices against private ownership of GSTN has been Subramanian Swamy, a Rajya Sabha MP from the Bharatiya Janata Party.
GSTN’s authorised capital is `10 crore and it is currently headed by Ajay Bhushan Pandey, who is also the chairman of Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI).