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GST rollout a hell of a challenge, says Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka

Sikka admitted that the IT backbone of GST is an extremely complex and ambitious exercise as it involves banks, small businesses and states.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
Updated: September 15, 2016 3:53:42 pm
Vishal Sikka CEO and MD, Infosys. Vishal Sikka CEO and MD, Infosys

Describing GST rollout “a hell of a challenge”, Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka on Thursday acknowledged that there are pockets of weak preparedness, but there is still time to address them before the April 2017 deadline.

“There are many pockets where there is weak preparedness at this moment. But we have time between now and then, and the government is extremely keen to address that (weakness),” Sikka said when asked about the preparedness for the launch.

He on Thursday made a presentation to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and senior officials of the ministry on GST Network (GSTN) and the road map for its operationality, a ministry tweet said.

“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.

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BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has been critical of GSTN as a majority 51 per cent stake lies with the private sector and the government remains a minority partner.

Asked about the key challenges for the GST rollout, he said there are issues around technology and cultural readiness and Infosys is taking some world-class measures to ensure the GST IT framework is a secure one.

The software behemoth in September 2015 was tasked with the job of building the IT infrastructure for the new indirect tax regime.

Sikka admitted that the IT backbone of GST is an extremely complex and ambitious exercise as it involves banks, small businesses and states.

When asked if the industry is prepared for the April launch, Sikka said there is a lot of work to be done between now and then.

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GST, which was first proposed a decade back, is seen as potentially transformative for India’s economy, potentially adding as much as 2 percentage points to GDP while improving ease of doing business and attracting investment in manufacturing.

It is also expected to result in greater tax compliance, boosting government revenues.

The government plans to implement the new uniform indirect tax structure from April 1, 2017, which will subsume excise, service tax and a string of other local levies.

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