Don't skip midnight GST launch event, Jaitley urges opposition
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today urged opposition parties including Congress and the Left to reconsider their decision to skip the midnight GST launch tomorrow saying ‘they were all consulted on the indirect tax reform and cannot run away from it’.
"I hope every political party will reconsider and revisit its decision" on not participating in the launch event to be organised in the Central Hall of Parliament, he said.
The government, he said, remains committed to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as any other reform. "It is single most important taxation reform in 70 years."
All decision on GST, including rules and tax rates, were taken in consultation with states and political parties must display broad shoulder and own up their responsibility, he said.
The Congress today decided to keep away from the special midnight June 30 meeting convened by the government on GST implementation. Trinamool Congress has already announced its decision to boycott the event.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has already questioned the government on "hurrying" into introducing GST and recalled that the ruling BJP had opposed the system when it was in the opposition.
Addressing the media here today, senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma said that the ‘country was ill-prepared for its (GST) implementation’ and the ‘Central Hall should not be used for such midnight functions’.
Congress leaders also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was quiet on incidents of violence in different parts of the country and farmers were committing suicide. The leaders said the government was seeking to gain publicity for itself by holding a midnight function for GST roll out.
Azad said that said such midnight sessions had only been held on three occasions related to the country's Independence -- in 1947, 1972 and 1997.
"Probably for BJP, the years 1947, 1972 and 1997 are not important as they did not take part in the freedom struggle," Azad said.
GST, being billed as the biggest tax reform since Independence, will subsume all indirect state and central levies, making India a single market.
Nitish’s JD(U) to attend GST midnight launch
Meanwhile, amid continuing differences within Bihar's ruling ‘Grand Alliance’, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's JD(U) said that it will attend the Parliament rollout of the GST but Lalu Prasad's RJD said that it will go with the Congress and thus skip the event.
Senior JD(U) leader and Bihar Energy Minister Bijender Prasad Yadav will attend the special Parliament session on Friday midnight.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad announced that his party will boycott the meeting. "RJD has supported the GST earlier but later it was found that the BJP-led government at the Centre has changed it. We will not be part of it," he said.