Special midnight Parliament session to mark GST launch on June 30

Potatoes to have GST

Special midnight Parliament session to mark GST launch on June 30

A midnight event in Parliament's central hall on June 30 will roll out the Goods and Services Tax (GST), with the government announcing a grand launch to mark the occasion billed as India's biggest ever reforms initiative.

The switch-over to GST will happen at midnight in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Jaitley said.

The launch programme will see members of both Houses of Parliament in a joint sitting in the Central Hall of Parliament where the President, Prime Minister and the Finance Minister are likely to address.

Originally, the GST was to be launched from Vigyan Bhawan - the largest convention centre in the national capital that has hosted majority of the meetings of the GST Council.

Acknowledging the role of previous governments in readying the GST, Jaitley said: "Many governments have played an important role. GST was passed unanimously by Parliament in 2016".

Chief Ministers of all states will be invited for the event as GST represented an unprecedented exercise in fiscal federalism, sources said, adding GST Council members will be the guests. Kerala will pass GST law in this week.

"We have been saying for the last six months it would be July 1 - nobody has any business not to be ready", Jaitley told reporters. "We have got FRBM Act and fiscal deficit target, we intend adhering to it", he said.

He, however, said in short term, there will be some challenges in switchover to GST. That is why I have extended the date for filing of GST returns. Now the readiness will be determined by September 15 when the traders have to file the first return. "If a trader is still not ready by that time, then he does not want to be ready", he added.

An increase in revenues, said Jaitley, would increase the spending capacity of the central and state governments. The government of India holds 24.5 per cent equity in GSTN and all states, including NCT of Delhi and Puducherry, and the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers, together hold another 24.5 per cent.

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