Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy declared on Twitter that if government not removes private companies from Goods Services Tax Network (GSTN) than he would go ahead with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the Central Government. Swamy tweeted on his twitter Handle @Swamy39 that, he will wait till October 31 for the government to act, failing which he will go ahead with a PIL to challenge the government in allowing ownership of private companies in the Goods Services Tax Network (GSTN).
Snapshot of Tweet from Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy is as follows :-
AS per GSTN website Ownership Structure of the same is as follows :-
GSTN SPV was incorporated on March 28, 2013 as a Non-Government, not for Profit (Section 25), private limited company registered under the Companies Act, 1956. The Authorised Share Capital of the company is INR 10,00,00,000 (Rupees ten Crore only) with 49% equity of the company held by the Government (24.5% Central Government and 24.5% all State Governments/UTs put together) and 51% equity is held by private financial institutions namely ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, HDFC Ltd, LIC Housing Finance and National Stock Exchange Strategic Investment Corporation Ltd.
The strategic control over GSTN is with the Government given the sensitivity of the role of GSTN and the information that would be available with it. The strategic control of the Government over GSTN is ensured through measures such as composition of the Board, mechanism of Special Resolution and Shareholders Agreement, induction of Government officers on the deputation and agreements between GSTN and Governments.
On July 22, 2015, Rajya Sabha Select Panel tabled its Report (119 Pages) on GST Constitutional Amendment Bill and made following Observation Regarding GSTN-
“The Committee feels GSTN shall play a crucial role in implementation of GST as it shall provide the IT infrastructure for implementation of GST. It noted that Non Government shareholding of GSTN is dominated by private banks. This is not desirable because of two reasons. Firstly, public sector banks have more than 70% share in total credit lending in the country. Secondly, GSTN’s work is of strategic importance to the country and the firm would be a repository of a lot of sensitive data on business entities across the country. In light of above, the Committee strongly recommends that Government may take immediate steps to ensure Non Government financial institution shareholding be limited to public sector banks or public sector financial institutions.”
Like Law and Order, the tax collection is the total responsibility of the government. The question is why the NDA government, sticking to the company – GSTN?
Swamy’s move to go ahead with PIL will be a big blow to the Modi government, which has not yet changed the dubious policy adopted under earlier regime despite recommendation or demand for the same by Rajya Sabha’s Standing Committee, Department of Expenditure and Department of Revenue officials and Department of Expenditure.
It will be interesting to see if government makes the changes in Ownership of GSTN or faces Swamy in Court.