Sounding of gong at 12 to signal GST launch

New Delhi: Goods and Service Tax (GST) being touted as the  the biggest tax reform of the country, is all set to be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Parliament’s historic Central Hall at midnight. President Pranab Mukherkee will also be present at the event.

Here’s a quick look at some updates ahead of the launch.

  1. The launch event will begin at 11 pm and extend after midnight to usher in GST roll-out on July 1. A gong will be sounded at 12 to signal GST is here. The Central Hall has been fitted with new carpets and sound systems for the big night.
  2. President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the event. At the high table of the Central Hall, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda along with Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Vice President Hamid Ansari. Though former PM Dr Manmohan Singh has been invited, Congress’ call to boycott is a clearindicates that he will not join the event.
  3. Industrialist Ratan Tata will be there, as will RBI governor Urjit Patel and former governors Bimal Jalan and YV Reddy. However, Patel’s predecessor Raghuram Rajan is not attending.
  4. The government has invited all MPs, Chief Ministers and state finance ministers. Opposition parties like the Congress, the Left, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, DMK and Lalu Yadav’s RJD are boycotting the event.
  5. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal (United) or JD(U) has backed GST and though he will not attend, his party lawmakers have not been asked to stay away.
  6. Tamil Nadu’s ruling party AIADMK, which had walked out when the GST Bill was passed in Parliament, said though they are not fully satisfied with provisions of the new tax, they “have no option but to support GST” and will attend the event.
  7. Union Minister Venkiah Naidu said Union Minister Venkiah Naidu said it is unfortunate that the Opposition are distancing themselves from the process of reformation. “It’s historic because earlier we had national integration. Today we will have economic integration,” he added.

8  Opposition parties also say that protests this week by textile traders show that small traders and others are not ready for GST. They suggested postponing the launch. Mamata Banerjee, in a Facebook post on Wednesday, said the “unnecessary hurry to roll out GST is another epic blunder of the Centre.”

It may be mentioned here that it is the fourth time since Independence that an event will be held at the Central Hall at midnight. The last three celebrated India’s Independence. GST, which replaces a slew of indirect taxes with a unified tax, is set to dramatically reshape the country’s economy.

(With inputs from NDTV)

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