New Delhi: West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Saturday said the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) can be delayed by a few days, owing to the unsatisfactory preparedness of the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN).
Speaking to the media after the 15th meeting of the GST Council here, Mitra, while subtly mocking Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, said ‘there is nothing sacrosanct about July 1’.
“With changes being made constantly by the GST council, the GSTN is not able to cope with these. There is a large volume of transactions that need to be monitored. The matrix of weights for tax incidence was given only day before yesterday. The rollout can be delayed by a few days; there is nothing sacrosanct about July 1,” he said.
To back his stance, Mitra cited the example of the recent ransomware attack, which affected major servers globally. “The GST has not yet gone to its testing stage. We all know of how major servers were affected by ransomware . In the wake of this, the GSTN needs more time to prepare,” he said.
Mitra further added that the computers need to get acclimatised to handling 300 crore transactions a month, while the trial has been done only with around 200 major companies.
However, Kerala’s Finance Minister Thomas Isaac said although the level of preparedness is alarming, the GSTN can work along the way of implementation.
Meanwhile, the GST council finalised the rates of the commodities that were excluded from the 14th meeting.