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- Being convinced that goods and services tax (GST) data should be under government control, the GST Council is considering raising its stake in the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), even up to 100 per cent, with equal ownership division between states and Centre.
- The proposal is likely to be discussed in the next (27th) GST Council meeting expected to be held next month. The government stated that the operational setup of GSTN will continue to be the same, only the ownership structure will change.
- Explaining the reasoning behind the proposal, the official said that the majority private shareholding was considered necessary prior to introduction of GST to ensure that the structure was adequately flexible and that the agency had freedom of operation. GST, which replaced multiple state and central taxes with a single levy, was rolled out across the nation on July 1last year.
- With the GST portal stabilising and the formal implementation of the e-way bill system on April 1, it is now felt that time may be ripe for ownership change. Thus the government is mulling this proposal.
- GSTN was incorporated as a private limited company on March 28, 2013.It is currently a not for profit, non-government company with 24.5 per cent stake of Centre, 24.5 per cent by all states and empowered committee of state finance ministers, totalling to 49 pe cent. Rest, 51 per cent stake is with private financial institutions-HDFC, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance.
- GSTN acts as the IT backbone for the new indirect tax regime. It is also a repository of sensitive information of over 1 crore taxpayers.
- GSTN’s authorised capital is `10 crore and it is currently headed by Ajay Bhushan Pandey, who is also the chairman of Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI).