Millennium Post

Special Parl session on June 30 to usher in GST

The government will not blink on rolling out the GST from July 1, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday, emphasising that businesses cannot give any excuse for not being ready as enough time was given to them for preparation.

The much-awaited goods and services tax (GST) will be rolled out from June 30 midnight at a spectacular show. The official launch of GST will take place at a function which will be organised in Central Hall of Parliament in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee, who will share the dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others.

Notably, the President had piloted the first Constitutional Amendment Bill to bring in GST in 2011 when he was Finance Minister in the previous UPA regime.

Briefing about the launch programme, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the economy will have to face short-term challenges in implementing the biggest tax reforms since Independence.
"Former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda apart from Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan would also be present on the occasion," Jaitley said.
"The government has also invited Chief Ministers and state finance ministers of all the states apart from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members of the Parliament to take part in the launching ceremony of the country's biggest tax reform," the minister said, adding that all the members -- past and present -- chairmen of the GST Council and the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers have also been invited.

"The GST is a more efficient system which is prone to checking evasion, revenues will grow, and spending capacity of Centre and state governments will increase. Also, it will have a positive impact on the GDP. It will be a more efficient system and result in better tax compliance," the minister said.

Asked about industry bodies talking about small and medium enterprises not being prepared for the switchover to GST, Jaitley said July 1 as the rollout date has been announced well in advance and so "nobody had any business not to be ready".

Besides, additional time has been given in the initial period for filing of the results, thus giving enough time to prepare for the transition, he said. On the anti-profiteering clause in the GST law, he said the provision has been made as a deterrent which is not intended to be used unless forced to.

However, according to Jaitley, implementation of GST, which will unify more than a dozen separate levies to create a single market, may result in "some disruption" and "technological glitches" initially as traders and the smallest of businesses will have to file returns online.
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