BJP member Subramanian Swamy today questioned the shareholding pattern in the GSTN, the IT backbone of Goods and Services Tax (GST), terming it “a shady organization” and saying it was a “grave security” issue.
He demanded that the Rajya Sabha should first discuss the structure of this company before taking up the bills relating to GST. Four GST bills are slated for consideration in the House.
“I wish to bring to the notice of this House a grave national security matter which should receive precedence before we consider the GST Bill, and that is a body private limited company which was created in 2013 called GSTN,” he said during the Zero Hour in the House. He said the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) will carry out all data processing in the proposed indirect tax regime.
Swamy said a Select Committee of the House headed by Bhupinder Yadav in its report had recommended that the government should take immediate steps to ensure that non-governmental shareholding in GSTN is limited to state- owned banks or public sector financial institutions.
He said the GSTN has been designed in such a manner that it cannot be audited by CAG and RTI too does not apply to it. “This is a kind of a shady organisation that is coming into being,” he said, adding the House should first discuss whether GSTN would be restructured according to the Select Committee recommendations or not.
GSTN, a non-government, private limited company, was incorporated on March 28, 2013. The Government of India holds 24.5 per cent equity in GSTN and all States, including NCT of Delhi and Puducherry, and the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers, together hold another 24.5 per cent.
The balance 51 per cent equity is with non-government financial institutions — HDFC, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance Ltd. It has been set up primarily to provide IT infrastructure and services to central and state governments, tax payers and other stakeholders for implementation of the GST.