In the 27th GST council meeting on Friday, the panel agreed to a proposal to convert the GST Network (GSTN) into a government-owned entity. GST Network is a company that provides IT backbone to the new indirect tax regime. Briefing the reports post meeting, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the central government will now hold 50 percent in the GSTN and the remaining share would be collectively owned by the state governments.
At present, 24.5 percent of the stake is held in GSTN by the central government and a same percentage is collectively owned by the state governments. HDFC Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance Ltd are the five private financial institutions which own the remaining 51 percent in the company. “The council agreed to a proposal of buying out the stake of private entities to make GSTN a government-owned entity,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said.
The other important on agenda of today’s meet was related with levying sugar cess in order to help farmers. However, as states opposed the proposal so the decision was deferred. Some of the states were not in a favour of such a levy on sugar, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra.
The 27th GST council meeting today took place through video conferencing. The council also decided a roadmap for introduction of simplified return filing. Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said that a single monthly return filing system would come into force in six months.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also informed that that most of the states were in favour of providing 2 percent incentive if all payments are paid digitally or through cheques. He also said that some wanted a small negative list and so the issue will be referred to a five-member group of state finance ministers.