[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]fter a recent interview with the Finance Minister, a new screw is stuck in the case of Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN). GSTN is the IT backbone of Goods and Services Tax (GST). In the previous Congress government, the then Finance Minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram, kept the GSTN out of the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)’s jurisdiction. It has been criticized from time to time because it’s been the Constitutional Right of the CAG.
…the CAG is yet to confirm Finance Minister’s revelation. It has not yet said whether it is permitted to do a complete audit or a partial audit (whatever that means).
In addition to eminent economist and senior BJP leader Dr. Subramanian Swamy, a number of financial experts have been advocating that the authority to conduct the audit of GSTN should be fully empowered by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
In the Constitution of India, the CAG has been given a very important place. B.R. Ambedkar had once said CAG probably the most important officer in the Constitution of India. Therefore, when Chidambaram decided to keep GSTN out of the jurisdiction of the CAG, it was seen as an attack on the Constitution.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is an authority, established by the Constitution under Constitution of India/ Part V – Chapter V/ Sub-part 7B/ Article 148, which audits all receipts and expenditures of the Government of India and the state governments, including those of bodies and authorities substantially financed by the government.
In a recent interview to a private news channel, Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley revealed that he has given the right to an audit of GSTN to the CAG of the country because the issue raised by his BJP ally Dr. Swamy is valid. But the CAG is yet to confirm Finance Minister’s revelation. It has not yet said whether it is permitted to do a complete audit or a partial audit (whatever that means).
When GST is set to launch on July 1st, Infosys has informed the Finance Ministry that E-Bills generation process will take extra time of 3-4 months. While Infosys is solely responsible for GSTN, Finance Ministry now has roped in National Informatics Centre (NIC), a Government organization to see if the two together can somehow meet the deadline.
It will be interesting to see how this decision of the Finance Ministry will prove to be effective in the coming times, because, on one side where Dr. Swamy has threatened to go to the Supreme Court against the GSTN, especially if the ownership structure is not fixed.
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2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.