GST Council gives nod to convert GST Network into a govt-owned company

The Goods and Services Tax Council on Friday gave its nod to convert GST Network, the information technology backbone of the new indirect tax system, into a government-owned company after concerns were raised about the security of taxpayers’ data on the portal. The Council allowed the Centre and states to acquire the entire 51 per cent equity, worth Rs 50.1 million, held by non-governmental institutions in the GSTN. The finance ministry said a majority of the GST processes, including registration, filing of returns, payment of taxes, processing of refunds, were IT-driven, and the GSTN was handling large-scale invoice data of millions of entities. “Considering the nature of ‘state’ functions performed by the GSTN, the Council felt the GSTN be converted into a fully-owned government firm,” the ministry said.

The GSTN board will be allowed to continue with the current staff at existing terms and conditions for a period of up to five years. 
The existing financial commitments given by the Centre and states to the GSTN to share the capital and O&M costs of the IT systems will continue.