New Delhi: A special session of the Parliament has been convened for the launch of National Goods and Service Tax (GST) on June 30 mid-night. The session will be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while former prime ministers Dr Manmohan Singh and Deve Gowda will share stage with him, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Wednesday.
"Reminiscent of India's tryst with destiny at the mid- night of August 14-15, 1947, Parliament's historic Central Hall will host an hour-long function on the intervening night of June 30-July 1 to mark the rollout of GST", he said.
President Pranab Mukherjee, who had piloted the first Constitutional Amendment Bill to bring in GST in 2011 when he was finance minister with the previous UPA regime, will also share the dais with Prime Minister Modi and his predecessors on the occasion.
Announcing that the switchover to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will kick in at the stroke of mid-night, Jaitley said the hour-long function will mirror the contribution made by different political parties and states to the revolutionary new tax regime.
Jaitley's statement has put to rest the speculations that the government may delay the GST launch by few months as requested by some states including West Bengal.
Jaitley further said that the delay is not on government's agenda as enough time had already been given to all stakeholders to get ready for what he said is the "biggest tax reform" since Independence.
"When you go in for reforms, you must never blink. If you blink you get derailed," Arun Jaitley said.
Jaitley however acknowledged that the GST implementation in its early phase might create some problem.
"In the short-term, there will be some challenges. The reform step is for betterment. All reforms initially are seen as disruptive, and in the long run are seen as result yielding reform", he said.
Jaitley said the government has already relaxed the dates for filing of initial returns, and traders and businesses now have time till September 5, instead of previous August 10, for filing the returns and being ready.
The GST, India's most ambitious tax reform, replaces an unwieldy patchwork of tariffs and creates a single economic zone with common indirect taxes - something that neither the European Union nor the United States can boast.
As many as 65 lakh assesses have already registered and more are expected to sign up.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary P. K. Sinha on Tuesday took a detailed review of the preparedness for the roll-out of Goods and Services Tax (GST) from 1st July 2017.
In a Review Meeting attended by the Secretaries of 30 Ministries/Departments of the Central Government connected with GST, and video conferencing with CMDs/CEOs of about 167 Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) under their administrative control, the Cabinet Secretary asked all those involved to take full responsibility of their respective stake-holders, and ensure the successful implementation of the GST.