BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has raised strong objections to a majority stake for private entities in the company formed during UPA to manage and control the accounting and collection of GST and has urged the Prime Minister to ensure that it is replaced by a government-owned structure.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr Swamy asked him to subject Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) to a “close second look” and “thorough scrutiny”, questioning how a private entity can be allowed access to “sensitive” information without security clearance.
Referring to ownership details of the GST Network company, that will manage and control the accounting and tax collection of GST, he said central and state governments will jointly have only 49 per cent stake in it and rest with private entities like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank and LIC Housing Finance Limited, that have foreign shareholding.
Alleging that GSTN has “appropriated” around Rs. 4,000 crore in expenses and fees for its preliminary exercises, he asked why “private profit making entities have any stake, and that too majority stake” in a Section 25 company, which is a not-for-profit organisation.
“The most significant player it is obvious, in this tax collection effort should be the one who generates data collection. In this case, that would be the central and state governments.
“Everything else such as adjusting the percentage of GST for various states are just a matter of programming, which could be done by the Government itself through its Department of Electronics. After all, Government has already codified Income Tax. Nothing can be more complicated than that!,” Mr Swamy said in his letter to PM Modi.
He said the home ministry has not even been consulted and neither approved GSTN operators security clearance to allow them access to tax data.
“In fact that it was never placed before Home Ministry for security clearance is shocking,” he said.
“There is still time to put the right Government owned structure in place. Meantime GSTN has appropriated nearly Rs. 4000 crores in expenses and fees for its preliminary exercises Hence, I urge you to subject GSTN to a close second look and thorough scrutiny,” the Rajya Sabha MP said in his letter.