Government wants GST to be hacker-­proof

Government wants GST to be hacker-­proof

The government wants to fully insulate the goods and services tax (GST) technology backbone from hackers, amid growing risks of cyber-criminals misusing confidential information on transactions worth thousands of crores of rupees.

Revenue secretary Hashmukh Adhia, who is overseeing the groundwork for implementing GST, told a group of banks, GSTN, Central bank and tax officials to plug all gaps on potential cyber-fraud and sabotage and get the IT backbone ready by September 30.

GSTN — GST Network—has been tasked with creating a robust IT backbone to enable real-time taxpayer registration, filing returns, handle invoices, execute inter-state tax settlements, and connect states for twoway data flow for GST.

The government expects about 3 billion transactions to take place every month through the network after GST kicks in. The tech network will be tested through a string of simulated dry runs before the new GST’s expected roll-out from April 1, 2017.

These simulated exercises will be done to iron out glitches ahead of implementation once the GST rates on specific goods and services are decided.

“Cyber frauds have to be tackled with greater digital security. The digital revolution is irreversible now,” Adhia told HT. “Digital banking is the order of the day. We cannot think of going back to the system of manual banking,”

Infosys, India’s second largest software services company, is building the tech backbone.

“The system should have adequate firewalls in place to protect from increasing online payment frauds and maintaining data secrecy,” GSTN chairman Navin Kumar told HT.

“We are working on it with Infosys and we will make sure that the system will have the best safety and security measures available globally,” Kumar said.

According to the latest RBI data, the incidence of ATM, credit, debit card and net banking-related fraud has gone up by more than 35% between 2012-13 and 2015-16 in India.

Hindustan Times New Delhi, 27th August 2016