A minister-level committee will soon be constituted to oversee technical and operational issues of the Goods and Services Tax
Network (GSTN), the GST Council decided in Hyderabad on Saturday. The panel will comprise three to five state finance ministers, who will look into concerns of traders.
“The Council reviewed the functioning of the GSTN.
Till now, the portal has been overloaded twice or thrice. Yesterday (Friday), it was overloaded, as banks were filing returns. The Council will appoint a committee of some ministers, who will interact with the GSTN
for a smooth transition,” said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
In a significant move to benefit small businesses, the Council also reopened the composition scheme to September 30. This scheme offers a flat tax rate, besides easier compliance.
The reopening of the composition scheme will benefit small businesses, with annual turnover below Rs 75 lakh. The scheme had closed on August 16 and about a million tax assessees opted for it. It allows people to pay 1 per cent tax if they are traders, 2 per cent if manufacturers, and 5 per cent if they are restaurateurs.
Besides, a composition dealer only needs to furnish one return on a quarterly basis and one on an annual basis.
Traders have been reporting issues related to invoice matching, claiming transition credits via the Tran-1 form, errors in making final submission, and uploading of returns, and invoices among others.
West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra said glitches indicated the gaps in the GST preparedness. “Breakdown or technical glitches on the GSTN
portal shows the GST was implemented in haste,” said Mitra. “The GSTN
has major problems. Small and medium enterprises are suffering; this has to be corrected,” he added.
Experts welcomed the appointment of the panel to look into the GSTN
Pratik Jain of PwC-India said, “It seems substantial time of the Council was spent on discussing GSTN-related issues, which underlines the importance of technology for determine the success of the GST.”
The issues include slow response of the GSTN
portal, intermittent accessibility of the portal, and errors popping up. Companies claim in some cases, after uploading files, the portal was taking a few hours for processing these.
Of the 5.95 million registrations under the GST in July (excluding those under the composition scheme), only 4.4 million summarised returns or GSTR-3B have been filed so far.