Over three-fourth of the existing taxpayer base -comprising those paying central excise, VAT and service tax -have been enrolled with the GST Network (GSTN), the technology backbone for the new tax regime. In a presentation to the GST Council on Saturday , GSTN told Union finance minister Arun Jaitley and his colleagues from the states that 86% of the over 62,000 central and state tax department employees have been trained in dealing with GST returns and invoices, sources told TOI.
Nearly 83% of the about 7 lakh excise and service taxpayers have been enrolled so far. Similarly , close to 55 lakh of the 72 lakh-odd VAT and other taxpayers from 29 states and five Union territories have enrolled on GSTN with the enrollment window opening for a fortnight from June 1. A majority of the entities registered on the platform are proprietors and firms, indicating that small businesses have not lagged behind.
The data will address the concerns expressed by some states, such by West Bengal, which have been citing the lack of GSTN preparedness to seek a postponement of the launch date beyond July, something that the Centre and most states are unwilling to do. In fact, data released by the CBEC last week showed that nearly 90% of the traders in Bengal had registered themselves with the GSTN, with Kolkata seeing the third highest number of enrolments nationally.
Over the next four weeks, several upgrades have been lined up, including a new call centre with 400 agents that will have employees who are well versed in accountancy .A 100-seater call centre is already operational.
A soft launch of the beta version has already taken place and 3,128 taxpayers from the Centre and the states are participating in the process. Based on the feedback, several bugs and defects have been fixed, with the work under way to make it foolproof. While over-thecounter and internet banking integration has been completed with 25 banks, payment gateway integration has been completed with six out of the seven banks, said a source.