NEW DELHI: The GST Council has approved making GST Network (GSTN) a government entity by taking over stakes held by private entities, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday at the end of the 27th meeting of the council.
Jaitley said the GST Network or GSTN currently is 24.5 per cent owned by the central government and a similar percentage is held by state governments collectively. The remaining 51 per cent is with five private financial institutions -- HDFC Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd, ICICI Bank Ltd, NSE Strategic Investment Co and LIC Housing Finance Ltd.
The council has agreed to a proposal of buying out the stake of private entities to make GSTN a government-owned entity, he said adding the central government will own 50 per cent and the remaining would be collectively held by state governments.
In another important development, the council has referred the issue of giving 2 per cent incentive for digital payments of GST liability to a five-member committee. The incentive once in place, should encourage more people to transact digitally.
Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said a single monthly return filing system would come into force in six months
On the issue of imposition of cess on sugar, the finance minister said that the GST Council took note of the prevailing distress in the sector. The Council decided to constitute a committee of ministers who will consider the circumstances under which a commodities cost is more than its price and put forward its recommendations.
Jaitley also stated that the GST Council members have expressed satisfaction over the revenue generated since the roll out of the new tax regime. "There were several items on the agenda and detailed discussion on the first year's revenue collection. Members expressed satisfaction over revenue growth," he said.
The Union Finance Minister-chaired council, comprising state finance ministers, met through video conferencing. The meeting comes at a time when GST collections achieved its record high by exceeding Rs 1 lakh crore milestone in April.