GST rollout: After months of speculation and hype, the Goods and Service Tax will be finally launched at midnight on June 30 at a grand ceremony in the national capital, New Delhi. GST is believed to be the biggest tax reform since achieving Independence on the midnight of August 15, 1947. The GST Council, that brings together the central and state governments, has met 17 times to thrash out how the tax will work. It will simplify a web of taxes, regulations and border levies by subsuming an array of central and state levies including excise duty, service tax and VAT. Under GST, four tax slabs have been created. A low rate of tax of 5 per cent on essential items and top rate of 28 per cent on cars and consumer durables has been finalised. The other slabs of tax are 12 and 18 per cent.
Coming back to the launch event, the historic Central Hall of Parliament will host a midnight function on June 30. Here’s what the government has planned for the historic night:
1. Earlier the GST launch was planned at Vigyan Bhawan which is the largest convention centre in the national capital and has hosted the majority of the meetings of the GST Council. But, the government thought that the Central Hall of Parliament might be a better place.
2. The Central Hall was selected considering the importance of the new tax code that unifies more than a dozen separate levies to create a single market with a population greater than the US, Europe, Brazil, Mexico and Japan put together.
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3. The circular-shaped Central Hall of the Parliament will perhaps be used for the first time by the government to launch a new taxation system. GST is likely to re-shape the over USD 2 trillion economy.
4. The launch event is scheduled to start at 11 pm on June 30 and will be extended to midnight, coinciding with the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, official sources told PTI.
5. To mark the beginning of the GST era, a gong will be sounded at midnight.
6. The event will be attended by all the senior leaders in the country along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pranab Mukherjee. The Prime Minister will be the key speaker at the event.
7. Since the GST bill was originally being crafted by Mukherjee himself during the UPA regime, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also been invited and will occupy the high table along with another former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda in the Central Hall during the event.
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9. The GST Council members will also attend the event as guests. The GST Council had met 17 times to come up with the final draft.
10. GST is expected to re-shape the Indian economy making the country a better place to conduct business.