BW Businessworld spoke to a top GSTN official, who spelt out the measures being taken to spruce up the IT infrastructure
Information technology (IT) infrastructure is being readied for the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) before the scheduled rollout of the GST regime on 1 April 2017.
BW Businessworld spoke to a top GSTN official, who spelt out the measures being taken to spruce up the IT infrastructure. “Our IT infrastructure will be in place for the GST rollout by 1 April 2017,” he says, requesting anonymity.
“We have completed prototyping. Code writing has started and we will start the testing, etc. from August. The complete softwarewill be in place by November,” he says.
The GSTN has shared the entire prototype of the IT system with the Union finance ministry, Department of Revenue and the Empowered Group of State Finance Ministers.
“The finance ministry officials and the Empowered Group of ministers have seen how the screen looks, when the data is fed and how it goes to the next stage,” says the official, adding that the beta version would be ready by the year-end.
The GSTN IT infrastructure will have two parts. One part of the network will enable taxpayers to go through a one-time registration on the GSTN portal, to be able to file their tax returns every month and apply for tax refunds. All the three actions (registration, filing of returns and filing for tax refunds) will be possible on a common GST portal for the entire country. The portal will become operational soon.
The second part of the network will pass all the data that the GST Network receives at the point of registration to the tax department. The facility will enable tax officials to approve, reject or call for additional documents when an application for registration is made on the network. Tax officials will be able to raise queries, reject applications or pass orders on the platform.
Tax returns will be filed, checked and mathematical calculations made on the GSTN. The relevant information will then passed on to the states or the Central governments. Scrutiny and assessment of the taxes paid on goods and services will also be conducted on the platform. A front-end of the platform is being created for this purpose.
All the payments made by registered users on the portal will go to the banks designated by the Reserve Bank of India. “We started work in October itself. Infosys has been given the responsibility of developing the application, procuring the hardware, installing the application and running the programme on the hardware. Infosys will also provide a help-desk. They will run it for the next five years,” the GSTN official says.
“Our biggest challenge is we are working on a draft law,” the official says. “The government first gave us the business process document way back in November. The Parliament will pass the Central law and then states will enact state laws. Changes effected will require changes in the software too,” he says. The GSTN is working closely with the states and the 30 designated banks to make the system functional.