Continuing his attack on GSTN, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has shot off one more letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, questioning the Rs 300-crore grant allegedly being given by the Finance Ministry to the privately held special purpose vehicle for GST rollout.
He also held that the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) can perform the same work at much less expense.
Swamy, who has been critical of the firm set up by the UPA government to provide support structure for GST rollout, in his latest letter said the Cabinet should examine the matter fully before taking a final decision.
“Now I learn that without reference to any expenditure norms, there is a move to grant Rs 300 crore to GSTN by the Finance Ministry. This position of the Ministry of Finance to grant Rs 300 crore was taken without any analysis whether the CBEC cannot perform the same work at much less expense.
“The Cabinet may perhaps therefore have the matter fully examined before a final decision is taken in the matter,” Swamy said.
The Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) is the special purpose vehicle that was formed under the previous UPA government to set up the information technology framework for rolling out the indirect tax regime that will replace a string of local levies.
The government of India holds 24.5 per cent stake in GSTN while states together hold another 24.5 per cent. The balance 51 equity is held by private financial institutions — ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, HDFC Ltd, LIC Housing Finance and National Stock Exchange Strategic Investment Corporation.
In the letter, Swamy drew attention of the Prime Minister towards his earlier letters in which he had said it was “not in our national interest” to pursue GSTN within the present structure as it involves majority participation by the private sector whose shares are largely foreign owned.