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November 9, 2020

GST Portal scaled up to handle 3 lakhs taxpayers concurrently

by CA Shivam Jaiswal in GST

GST Portal scaled up to handle 3 lakhs taxpayers concurrently

It has been over three years since the introduction of GST, but there still continues to be several areas of drawbacks of the GST portal. Even today the GST portal is not error or glitch free. Taxpayers are unable to access GST Return filing system before deadline runs out. The taxpayers are complaining about the continuous inconvenience they face while filing GST Returns. This is the story every month as the GSTN website stop working for hours during last days of filing returns. Frequent technical glitches of the GST Network website are become a big cause of inconvenience for taxpayers and other compliances continue to get affected due to these tech snags.

Being aware of all these issues, the GSTN network has now been scaled up to handle more than double the current load. Enhancement of the capacity of the GSTN common portal hasled to handling 3 lakh taxpayers at any single point of time (increased from 1.5 lakh). GSTN had augmented the capacity of the gateway from 1.5 lakhs to 3 lakhs concurrent logged in taxpayers in June 2020 as a proactive measure to handle the expected sharp surge in the indirect tax-related activities on the portal after easing of lockdown.

The portal of GST Network (GSTN), which provides the technology backbone for the goods and services tax, is managed by Infosys. In March 2020, the finance ministry wrote to Infosys saying some of the problems highlighted as early as 2018 are still unresolved and failures month after month lead to genuine taxpayers “getting frustrated” and asked the Bengaluru-based company to provide a plan for quick resolution of glitches on the GSTN portal.

Infosys Chairman Nandan Nilekani had then made a detailed presentation to the GST Council for the transition into a better GST Network system and the requirement of hardware to enhance capacity for addressing the system-related issues that are being faced by taxpayers in the IT system. The Council had agreed to the demand for more skilled manpower and better hardware to enhance capacity and given time till July 2020 to improve the GSTN design, instead of the proposed timeline of one year from March 2020.

The GST eco-system is future-ready to offer a seamless experience to the taxpayers with its augmented capacity even beyond the current load limits. Taking the surge during the peak filing into consideration, GSTN also took on the performance and stress testing of GST System applications that helped identify and remove bottlenecks in the software. Another major aspect which made this possible is the upgradation of core infrastructure components of GST System, especially widening of entry points into the system resulting in remarkable enhancement in GST System’s concurrency limits.

GSTN data shows a sudden jump in the filing of GSTR-3B, the monthly return filed by the normal taxpayers, in September 2020. The subsequent month also saw increased traffic which was successfully handled by the GST portal. Also, the number of active taxpayer numbers has doubled since the launch of GST at approximately 1.3 crore. This surge was due to the backlog in the filing of previous months’ returns for which relaxations were provided to the taxpayers in view of the Covid-19 outbreak.

GSTN undertook a massive exercise to overhaul the software, hardware and platforms that played a significant role in sustaining this huge workload on GST System. GSTN performed removal of redundant processing required for taxpayer requests, optimised taxpayer workload management by creating distinct processing pipelines depending upon the size of taxpayer’s upload of invoice data, tuning system and database parameters etc. Taxpayers can now look forward to fewer issues on the GST Portal while submitting their documents and filing their returns.

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