As complaints mount, CAG starts audit of GST Network

It will cover bandwith capabilities, robustness of software and security aspects

Updated - September 17, 2017 10:58 am IST

Published - September 16, 2017 09:06 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Reality check:  The CAG has the professional competence to carry out such a technical audit.

Reality check: The CAG has the professional competence to carry out such a technical audit.

While a Group of Ministers met on last week to address the mounting complaints about glitches in the GST Network, federal auditors have begun an audit of its technical capabilities to assess if it is ready to handle the massive amounts of transactions.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is expected to look into a host of issues: bandwith capabilities of the network, robustness of the software, security aspects, and the architecture of the entire system.

Sources said the CAG had the professional competence to carry out such a technical audit. “If necessary, experts from outside could also be roped in,” they said.

The CAG is empowered under the Constitution to audit various aspects of the GST, and it would have a clear picture by the end of the financial year after taxes are filed through the new system.

“That is when we would have a good idea of the GST’s financial implications,” the sources said.

“Teams have been undergoing training for months now for auditing various aspects of the GST,” the sources pointed out.

The GSTN audit is taking place against the backdrop of the recent appointment of a Group of Ministers, led by Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, to look into the glitches in the network. Mr. Sushil Modi said that the dealers’ tendency to rush to file returns at the last moment was forcing the system to crash.

Cumbersome navigation

The network’s capability to tackle the estimated 300 crore invoices a month is only one of the aspects of the GSTN that has left traders worried. Several traders and tax consultants have been complaining about the cumbersome navigation and the extra work they have to do to meet with GST requirements.

Incidentally, in the run-up to the GST launch in July 2017, the GSTN had approached the CAG for a technical audit certification. However, it was pointed out that such an audit could be done only after the network was up and running.

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