New Delhi, Raising objections to involvement of private players in the company formed to manage the accounting and collection of GST, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has written to the Prime Minister to “have a close second look” in the matter.
The company, Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), was incorporated in March 2013 by the then United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government with 49 per cent government share and 51 per cent private shares.
“It was a swift and secret move in 2013 to float this company with 51 per cent private shares… All the data management for computation of tax share, will be by GSTN. That is, the finance ministry in 2013 took this decision to outsource such confidential assessment and activity, to the private sector,” Swami wrote.
“Being a Section 25 company, GSTN is a not-for-profit organisation. Then why should private profit making entities have any stake, and that too majority stake in it? What is in it for them,” he pointed out.
Swami said the GSTN has “appropriated nearly Rs 4,000 crore in expenses and fees for its preliminary exercises”.
“I urge you to subject GSTN to a close second look and thorough scrutiny,” he said.
The private companies holding shares in GSTN include ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and LIC Housing Finance Ltd.
“A close look at the private partners reveals that entities such as the HDFC Bank, lClCl Bank and LIC Housing Finance Limited have shareholding of several foreign investment companies,” Swami said.
Asserting that tax administration is a matter that deals with sensitive private information, Swami found it “shocking” that the home ministry was not even consulted before making this decision.
“The GST Bill at present has a long way to go. Adequate security has to be established to ensure that this data does not fall in the wrong hands.
There is still time to put the right government owned structure in place,” he said.