Infosys at work on GST tech framework
Infosys, which a few months ago won a landmark Rs 1,380-crore contract from the government to develop a state-of-the-art technology platform for the proposed goods and services tax (GST), is going ahead with the project despite the delay in the GST Bill getting passed, according to ministers and executives directly familiar with the matter.
On Monday, Prakash Kumar, CEO of the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), was in Bengaluru to review the progress of the project, the people mentioned above said. All of them requested anonymity.
“From our end, the project is going ahead as per plans — the delay in the Bill getting passed has not stalled anything,” said an Infosys executive familiar with the plans, who requested anonymity. “If not this session, there’s every chance that the Bill will get passed in the next session. And in such a scenario, the technology framework for the GST has to be ready. So, as of now, the project is still going ahead at full steam.”
The passage of the GST Bill was indefinitely delayed after opposition parties, led by the Congress, declined to support the tax reform measure while agreeing to allow the Rajya Sabha, where they have the majority, to function from Monday. The government has now changed the roll-out deadline from April 1, 2016 to June 1.
The uncertainty over the Bill’s passage has resulted in volatility in the stock markets and raised concerns over the future road-map of the goods and services tax network.
On Monday, Kumar told ET that the project was going ahead as per plan. “We are already working on the IT framework,” he said. “It’s going on as planned. You don’t develop these kind of applications in one month, it takes time.”
Infosys, the nation’s second largest software services exporter, declined to comment or confirm whether the company was still going ahead with the project.
“In case the government makes some changes, we’ll incorporate that. That’s the way it was planned,” said Kumar, stressing that there was no change on the deadline from the government’s side. “It’s open source as well as proprietary components. Work is going on in full swing, as per our initial plan. The basic framework is being developed – if there is any change in any particular process, we will change that process,” said Kumar.
PricewaterhouseCoopers is the official consultant for this project.
“The three most important functionalities in the online system are registrations, returns and payments. We are closely monitoring the passage of GST Bill and as of now targeting the system to be ready by April-May 2016, with the key functionalities in place,” said Anurag Dua, director, government and public sector, at PwC. “In fact, if changes are proposed at a later stage (if it is not a large-scale structural change in GST) after the implementation of GST, those changes the system will be able to take up in a seamless kind of way”.