Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

GST in focus: Modi reviews status, Sikka meets Jaitley

- Suchetana Ray and Saubhadra Chatterji n letters@hindustant­imes.com

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the government’s preparedne­ss for implementi­ng the Goods and Services Tax (GST), Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka on Thursday met Arun Jaitley to update him on the progress of the GST Network (GSTN).

Infosys is building the IT infrastruc­ture for the new indirect tax regime.

Describing the implementa­tion of GST as “a hell of a challenge”, Sikka said: “There are many pockets where there is weak preparedne­ss at this moment. But we have time, and the Centre is extremely keen to address that (weakness)”.

Sikka made a presentati­on to finance minister Arun Jaitley and senior officials of the ministry on making the GSTN operationa­l, the ministry tweeted.

“There are lots of moving parts. It is going to be a hell of a challenge. We know it is worrying sitting back there, but we are going to be ready,” Sikka said.

There have been rumours about the lack of preparedne­ss of the IT infrastruc­ture needed to roll-out GST by the April 1 2017 deadline.

Asked about the key challenges for GST’s roll-out, Sikka said there are issues around technology and cultural readiness, and the Infosys CEO is taking some world-class measures to ensure that the GST IT framework is a secure one. The IT backbone is an extremely complex and ambitious exercise, since it involves banks, small businesses and states, he added.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a review meeting on GST to ensure that the new tax system does not miss its April 1, 2017 deadline. According to sources, Modi told officials that all steps must be completed much before the beginning of the next financial year. The meeting was attended by finance minister Arun Jaitley, his two junior ministers and senior officials. Model GST laws, the establishm­ent of IT infrastruc­ture for both the Centre and states, training of officers, and outreach for awareness of trade and industry were the main issues discussed.

The GST Council would require “intensive meetings” to be able to make “timely recommenda­tions”, Modi added.

 ?? AP FILE ?? Modi: Taking stock
AP FILE Modi: Taking stock

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