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Computerisation of commercial tax depts completed: GSTN

Computerisation of commercial tax departments in all states has been completed for developing a technology platform for the proposed GST but entire project is yet to be completed, an official said today.

A company, Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) , has been formed to provide the IT infrastructure for the roll-out of GST and will connect databases of states and the centre.

GSTN CEO Prakash Kumar said that the process of computerisation of commercial taxdepartments in all states had been completed for developing a technology platform for GST, and the entire project is going full steam ahead.

Thesystem it puts in place will be used to implement PAN-based(Permanent Account Number-based) registration, filing of taxreturns and a payment processing system.

It is expected tocheck tax evasion and help broaden the tax base.

Asked when the platform would be ready, Kumar said the government has given a target, but states' capacity also needsto be taken into consideration, whether they are able todevelop data-sharing architecture to enable information exchange.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Annual IT Conference 2016 here, he said, "There are some states like Kerala, Gujarat and Maharashtra which have advanced levels of computerisation while some other states are not at that level.

"The focus of the GSTN will be to ensure that the data-sharing architecture is in place to enable information exchange between the central and the state government," he said.

Asked about the business model adopted to avoidpayment issue between government and IT players, Kumar saidthe pain points of the later have been taken care by changing the business model.

"We changed the business model. They had some painpoints and we solved them. The major challenge was timely payments to IT players, involved in the project," he said.

Replying to a query, he said the government has given GSTN Rs 320 crore for funding companies to purchase hardware needed for the system. "The central government has given us Rs 320 crore and are going to give some more money."

Asked about the government's initiative to connect products and SME customers with startups to GST platform, Kumar said a few startup companies have already begun to approach the government and suggest innovative ideas of developing applications to help them connect their products and SME customers to GST platform.

"A couple of startups came to me, and one of them I met was zapped by their innovation. Yes we need very innovative startups to add value to the GST platform. We need at least 10 to 12 such applications developed by startups," headded.