Ahead of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) roll-out on July 1, the Finance Ministry has set up a “mini war room”, equipped with several phone lines, computers and tech-savvy youth to ensure its smooth implementation, reported news wire PTI on Tuesday. Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) chief Vanaja N Sarna said the team will act as a quick resource centre for central and state officials to voice their queries.
“The finance ministry has set up a GST feedback and action room specifically for government officials to approach it with any urgent queries related to problems of GST in any area,” Sarna was quoted as saying by PTI. The unit, which will be available from 8 am to 10 pm, will act as a single-window to deal with any GST-related crises that arise.
The new tax reform comes into force on the intervening night of June 30 and July 1. The government will launch it in a ceremony at 11 pm from the Central Hall of Parliament in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and other members of Parliament. Former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Deve Gowda have been invited to attend the event. The state GST Bill was passed by all State Assemblies except Jammu and Kashmir, signalling support to the ‘historic’ reform. Read: What’s the hurry, even PM Modi opposed it for years, says Sitaram Yechury. Click here.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday appealed to the Congress to refrain from indulging in politics over the launch of GST, adding that all decisions will be taken unanimously by the GST Council — which has representation from all states. “GST Council is the first federal institution where every decision was taken by consensus. No decision was taken on the basis of UPA Vs NDA, or on the basis of politics. All decisions were taken keeping in mind the benefits to the country and traders,” Jaitley was quoted as saying by PTI. Read more here.
However, the Congress has not committed to attend the launch. Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had on Monday said the Congress was considering attending the launch. “The Congress party is examining various aspects of the issue, including the manner the GST is being implemented causing harassment to the common people, the unorganised sector and small businessmen,” Surjewala said.
(With inputs from PTI)