The GST Council headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley decided to make the GST Network a 100% government-owned entity from 49% currently. The council decided to convert GSTN into a fully government-owned entity as the nature of its function involved storage of data of lakhs of registered businesses in the country. GST Network is a company that provides IT backbone to the GST regime.
“GSTN is handling large-scale invoice level data of lakhs of business entities including data relating to exports and imports. Considering the nature of ‘state’ function performed by GSTN, Council felt that GSTN be converted into a fully owned government Company,” the Finance Ministry said in a statement.
Majority of the GST processes including registration, the filing of returns, payment of taxes, processing of refunds is IT driven and GSTN is handling large-scale invoice level data of lakhs of business entities including data relating to exports and imports, it added.
After the GST Council meeting, Arun Jaitley told reporters that the central government would hold 50% in the GSTN, while the remaining share 50% would be collectively owned by the state governments.
Currently, HDFC, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance Ltd are the private financial institutions that hold 51% share of the GSTN. The network was incorporated in March 2013 under the UPA government. Even as 51% shares are with private entities, GSTN is in strategic control of the government.
The GST Council also approved single return filing system in the meeting in a bid to simplify the process and increased compliance. However, the full implementation of the system will take six months time, Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said, adding that simpler return system will be implemented in three phases.