Govt begins move to increase stake in GST Network

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The process of the government acquiring controlling stake in the Goods and Service Tax Network (GSTN) has been put in motion, government officials familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified.

According to them, finance minister Arun Jaitley has approved the increase of the stake of the central government and the state governments in GSTN to at least 60% from the current 49%, to address fears that the ownership of a company that handles the IT infrastructure and systems related to the Goods and Services Tax, should reside with the state.

Currently, 51% of the ownership of GSTN is with private financial institutions.

 The demand that the state take control of GSTN is a long-pending one, and is also prompted by fears that sensitive GST data should not reside in private hands. Several politicians, cutting across party lines, including some from the Bharatiya Janata Party have questioned the wisdom of the control of a critical cog in India’s tax process being vested with private entities.