The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared the proposal to convert GST Network (GSTN) into a government-owned company. While the central government will now hold 50 percent stake in the new structure, the rest will be owned by the states on pro-rata basis, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. At present, the Centre and the states together own 49 percent in the company that provides IT backbone to the new indirect tax regime.
HDFC Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance Ltd together hold remaining 51 percent in the network. The GST Council had already cleared the proposal to convert the GSTN into 100 percent government-owned firm.
It was on March 28, 2013, the GSTN, a not-for-profit entity, was incorporated by the UPA government as a private limited company. In April earlier this year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had asked Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia to “examine the possibility” of converting GSTN into a government owned firm.
It was on July 1, 2017, Goods and Services Tax (GST), which subsumed over a dozen local taxes, was rolled out. More than 1.1 crore businesses are registered on the GSTN portal. Now, since the role of GSTN has been enhanced from just collecting taxes to data analytics, the government felt that it should now be the majority stakeholder in the IT backbone provider.
Meanwhile, a few days back, GSTN had directed its software vendor Infosys to design new forms for filing returns by traders, Group of Ministers (GoM) Chairman Sushil Kumar Modi had informed.
“We have directed Infosys to design new forms as suggested by the GST Council to simplify filing returns by traders on the network,” IANS had reported citing Sushil Modi after the 10th meeting of the GoM.