GST rollout: Only a few hours are left ahead of India’s tryst with ‘One nation, One tax’. True to the significance of the historic tax reform, the Goods and Services Tax would come into effect at a midnight joint Parliamentary session Friday. President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to address the gathering during the joint session. Conceptualised first during Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure in 2000, the GST idea was nurtured during 10 years of Congress-led UPA rule and now being implemented by the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
GST is touted to be the biggest change in tax regime since Independence and one of the big success of current NDA government.
Here is all you need to know about the GST rollout on June 30 midnight in Parliament:
Who all will be present at the Midnight session
Congress, Mamata Banerjee-led TMC and the Left parties have decided not to attend the midnight session. Some more parties may join them. President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, MPs of all parties except Congress, Left, and TMC, and 600 other people including finance ministers and GST officials are expected at the event.
Significance of midnight joint Parliamentary session
Indian Parliament has called joint session at midnight on only two occasions since the famous ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech of first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru on the occasion of India’s independence in 1947. The first such session took place in 1992 to mark the 50th anniversary of Quit India movement against the British rulers in 1942. The second midnight joint session was called in 1997 to mark the 50th anniversary of India’s independence in 1997.
The midnight joint Parliamentary session is celebratory in nature and called only on special occasions.
What the Opposition are saying about the joint session to launch GST
On Thursday, PTI reported Congress sources as saying that some party leaders felt GST was the party’s brainchild which has now been taken over by the ruling BJP. And thus they favoured attending the special meeting. However, another group of Congress leaders felt that GST is being implemented in a haste and all aspects have not been taken into consideration, leading to harassment of small traders and businessmen.
Congress sources also said the party was apparently irked with Modi trying to emulate India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s midnight ‘Tryst with Destiny’ speech on the eve of Independence.
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has written on Facebook: “We have been for GST from the beginning but are very worried now with the way the Central Government is going ahead with the implementation. Our repeated suggestions to take some more time to properly implement GST have fallen in deaf ears. The entire business community, especially the small and medium ones, are scared and confused.”
What will happen during the joint midnight Parliamentary session
The change over to the new tax system is expected to take place at midnight. India had also attended independence at midnight. It is expected that the midnight session will last for an hour and addressed by PM Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee. The GST launch will be done through a laptop and two short films on GST will also be screened, according to The Indian Express.