GST rollout: India is set to embrace Goods and Services Tax (GST). BJP led NDA government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will roll out GST during a historic midnight Parliament session. But the event has been marred by controversy as Oppostion parties like Congress, Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Left have decided to skip it. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who has extended support for NDA presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind, will attend the event. It has been said that GST 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, according to PTI report.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was specially invited for the event, but would skip it, according to Indian Express report. Mamata Banerjee was the first one to boycott the event saying GST is an epic blunder. Congress has given several reasons behind skipping the event. It has said that from the choice of venue to killings of minorities and Dalits, violence against women, and farmer suicides.
The JD(U), has extended its support to the pan-India tax reform measure even as criticised the BJP for what it termed as an attempt to project the GST launch as a great historic moment.
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While Opposition parties have spoken against the GST, the central government has appealed to Opposition parties to reconsider their move. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has asked them to display broad shoulders and not disassociate from the decision they were a party to. “I can say this without fear of contradiction, that there has never been this (kind of) exercise… this kind of political consultation and political consensus in bringing the GST… They must now display broad shoulders and own up (to) this decision. Symbolic boycotts are not an evidence of any kind of disassociation from these decisions,” FM Jaitley was quoted as saying by IE.