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Behind The Scene: On Day 1, Office That Runs GST Network On 'Autopilot'

Reuters file photo.

Reuters file photo.

The security guard at the reception said most people here work five days a week and this Saturday was also an off day for them.

New Delhi: On the first day of GST implementation after the midnight launch in Parliament by President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, one would have expected the office of GST Network, its IT backbone, to be buzzing with excitement and frantic queries. But when News18 visited the office on Saturday afternoon, it was calm and mostly empty.

The security guard at the reception said most people here work five days a week and this Saturday was also an off day for them.

However, Navin Kumar, the Chairman of GSTN, was in the office. He had been fielding queries since morning in his tastefully done office. He had already done half a dozen media interviews and didn’t look like a person who was at the centre of ushering in the most significant tax reform in Asia’s third largest economy.

“The work is going on mostly on autopilot,” the former IAS officer told News18 in an interview. “We are a small team here, but we have been putting in 20 hour work days over the past year in preparation for today,” he added.


The GSTN is at the heart of the functioning of the tax regime. It is a portal on which all tax assesses have to register. The backend is managed by Infosys out of Bengaluru and is buzzing 24/7/365. The office in Delhi is the corporate office.

The GST is a step up over the previous tax regime that included the value added tax, service tax and excise duty. There were 80 lakh entities registered with the tax department which have to be migrated to the GSTN.

The process started 7 months ago and already 67 lakh old assesses have registered on the GSTN and have been given their unique GST identification numbers and are ready to hit the ground running. Navin Kumar estimates that the remaining will migrate within the next three months. However, two and a half lakh new business entities also registered with the GSTN in the week leading up to today.

The portal, which is the frontend, handles registrations, filing of returns and tax payment while the backend, which is connected to the tax department of the Centre and all the states, does audit, assessment and adjudication.

The GSTN started building the IT portal in late 2015 and a year later the portal went live. The slow migration since then is expected to pick up pace in the coming days and weeks.

Navin Kumar claimed the portal did not experience any technical difficulties or glitches today, the first day of the new regime. “Everything is running fine, we even have a helpline for queries,” Kumar told News18.


The Chairman said GSTN had received some complaints about the digital signature certificate, which is needed for uploading invoices onto the portal, but he said that was because they hadn’t followed the instructions right.

He also said the highest security standards had been followed and that financial data on the portal was secure. “We have used a layered security system to ring fence the portal, so there is no chance that it can be breached,” he said.