GST: Is it Similar to the Great Indian Wedding?

So, we are all set for the July 1st rollout of the much awaited, (and coveted) Goods and Services Tax (GST). The reactions among CIOs are pretty mixed. For some it’s a boon, and for some it’s a bane.


Over the last few months there have been enough messages, shouts and discussions on various WhatsApp CIO groups and other such social forums. The topics of debate were ranging from whether GST should be deferred or not as no one seems to be ready. Some CIOs were of the opinion that let it be rolled out on the 1st of July, as scheduled. The others even compared it with an examination and said why carry the tension of an exam for more time in case it gets postponed, let it be over once and for all on 1st July.


But the reality is that while GST will be rolled out as scheduled, it is not any examination, which will get over on that day itself and the tension will be diffused.


The bigger and more pertinent question here is: Are the CIOs ready? The answer is both yes and no.


While most CIOs are quite confident that they will somehow manage invoicing and ordering in the new taxation regime from 1st July, there is a lot of work still to be done in most cases about some of the intricate processes both for procurement and for sales.


Next, there is the GSP/ASP/GSTN data upload/reconciliation and a host of other activities for, which even basic testing is pending in most enterprises. A lot of companies are yet to decide whether to go for a GSP who is also an ASP or decide an ASP and then see preferred GSP or vice versa.


Further, there is yet another parallel discussion taking place as to why ASP/GSP, why not an offline tool of GSTN.


In a nutshell, while we are just a few days away from the D-day yet the confusion looms large. Will things be sorted out by the new date of 1st filing of GSTR1? In my view, its is like the Great Indian Weddings where, till the last minute before the wedding procession arrives, there is utter confusion and everything seems pending and the bride’s family remains tense on how things will be done. But in the end somehow things fall in place and everything goes well. GST case is quite similar. All IT teams and CIOs are quite tense but will somehow manage in the end.


Does that mean the job will finally be over after 1st GSTR1 filing and that will be the final exam day? No! Not really. I expect lot of work for IT teams for the next 3-4 months, as there will be lot of learning that would need to be incorporated after the rollout. As users come out with more business scenarios that were not thought through during earlier rounds of testing, there will be work to be done. IT has to work to incorporate clarifications regarding various rules. Will the data downloads and uploads be as smooth as being projected by most ASPs/GSPs, I think one should just go back and look at most software implementations, despite best of global vendors and multiple rounds of testing, there are plenty of bugs.


So, if any CIO or IT team thinks that come July 1st, and GST IT part is over, my guess is it will take 3 to 4 months before you can say that with some conviction. Even after that, there will be a lot of work to be done. As they say in most ERP implementations, ‘Go-live’ is not end of project; it is start of a journey. GST is a similar case.

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Vijay Sethi

Vijay Sethi, Vice President and CIO, Hero Moto Corp. is responsible for Information Systems function in the company. Vijay has ...

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