Being ready with the required IT infrastructure to usher in goods and services tax (GST) is high on the government’s agenda. The Nandan Nilekani-led seven-member Technology Advisory Group for Unique Projects (TAGUP) will meet here for the first time on June 28 to review IT preparedness for the proposed indirect tax regime. The group is expected to discuss contracting norms, bidding process and security — major challenges while preparing an adequate technology infrastructure for GST.

TAGUP, which was constituted on June 7, will advise the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) to prepare for GST. The new tax regime, which overhauls India’s age-old indirect tax system, will be technology-dependent. In the GST regime, a single tax will be levied on goods and services pan-India rather than separate taxes at states and the Centre.

GST technology framework is part of TAGUP announced by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in this year’s Budget. Nilekani heads five TAGUP projects – on GST, tax information network, new pension scheme, national treasury management agency and the expenditure information network.

“The group will meet the finance minister to exchange views on GST. We will be discussing contracting rules, commercial terms, a method for price discovery during competitive bidding for GST network and suggestions for user charges by stakeholders,” a senior finance ministry official told FE. The group will also deliberate on open-protocols (an IT requirement) and security issues in case of attacks on the system, he added.

The group includes Infosys former chief Nilekani, Sebi chairman CB Bhave, IT department secretary R Chandrasekhar, PFRDA former chairman Dhirendra Swarup, CBDT former member SS Khan, CBEC former member P R V Ramanan and ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth president Nachiket Mor.

The finance ministry and states have constituted a joint working group on IT for GST. The indirect tax administrations at the Centre and states level are being revamped. Nilekani has been frequently meeting CBEC officials to work out the modalities for the IT platform being developed to enable smooth implementation of GST.

The IT framework for GST assumes importance with the approaching deadline for the new tax regime. Mukherjee had said in the Budget speech: “Creation of IT projects that are reliable, secure and efficient is the need of the hour for an effective tax administration and financial governance system.”

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