GST: TMC out, Congress torn, Arun Jaitley assures smooth midnight rollout

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday reminded opposition parties that all decisions on GST were taken with consensus and that the “spirit of that consensus should be maintained by all.” He also expressed hope that every party, MP and state government will attend the launch.

Written by Manoj CG , Anand Mishra | New Delhi | Updated: June 29, 2017 3:35 am
GST, Goods and services tax, GSt rollout, GST implementation, Arun jaitley, Mamata Banerjee, Congress, Arun Jaitley assured that the system is fully geared for it and will smoothen itself out over time. He rejected as “impossible” the demand to defer its implementation. (File photo)

With Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announcing that her party would boycott the June 30 midnight Parliament event to roll out the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Congress in double mind and flagging concerns, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday reminded opposition parties that all decisions on GST were taken with consensus and that the “spirit of that consensus should be maintained by all.”

He also expressed hope that every party, MP and state government will attend the launch.

Sources in the Left said its top leaders in Parliament such as Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M) and D Raja (CPI) will not attend the midnight function. The Congress appears to be in two minds, but the overwhelming view appears to be in favour of skipping the event. This section feels that the GST is being implemented in haste, and that all aspects have not been taken into consideration. This, the leaders advocating staying away contend, will lead to harassment of small traders and businessmen.

The argument against a boycott is that the UPA government was the architect of GST and the party should not leave the BJP walk with all the credit by staying away. But most party leaders said on Wednesday that there would be no role for the Congress at the midnight event.

Announcing her party’s decision to stay away, Banerjee called GST an epic blunder. “We are deeply concerned about GST implementation,” she wrote on Facebook. “After demonetisation, this unnecessary disastrous hurry is another epic blunder of the Centre. Our Parliamentary Party has decided not to attend the 30th June, 2017 midnight programme at the Parliament House to celebrate GST, as a mark of protest.”

Yechury has already questioned the “unseemly hurry with GST before putting systems in place”.

Banerjee was also of the view that the implementation of GST should have been deferred for another six months as the country’s economy is not ready to face the rollout from July 1.

Jaitley, however, assured that the system is fully geared for it and will smoothen itself out over time. He rejected as “impossible” the demand to defer its implementation.

Replying to a question at a Cabinet briefing, he said, “It has been the effort, the successful effort, of this government that all decisions related to GST were taken by and large with a consensus. Since it was done with consensus, be it among political parties, in Parliament, in Assemblies or in the government, I hope that all state governments and all parties will fully participate in it.

“We have never looked at it with a partisan angle and neither enacted it like that. We have spent so much time in making consensus and fortunately we were able to build consensus and therefore the spirit of that consensus should be maintained by all. Even the function we are organising symbolises that larger national consensus.”

On the demand to defer the launch, Jaitley said, “There is a constitutional mandate, and the mandate is (that) on 15th of September you will lose your right to collect existing taxes. So the alternate system has to come in place, and hopefully by that date the alternate system will come in place in more smooth manner…. Those talking in terms of deferring for six months or so on…that is Constitutionally impossible.”

About Jammu and Kashmir, which is yet to pass GST Bill, Jaitley said that the state government is trying to achieve that with a consensus and hoped that they are able to do it soon.

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  1. P
    Parth Garg
    Jun 29, 2017 at 5:46 pm
    Enterprise in India will loose its freedom at midnight tomorrow.
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    1. K
      Kabir Kabir
      Jun 29, 2017 at 9:29 am
      GST is for the benefit of the country. These political parties (TMC, Communists and the Congress), by boycotting this symbolic occasion, are just proving how anti-national they are. The communists have always been anti-national, however the congress and Mamata Banerjee seem to be joining them in this. The voters will not forget.
      Reply
      1. A
        Apte
        Jun 29, 2017 at 8:51 am
        1. Boycott of midnight function to be held for GST roll out by the Congress and Trinamool Congress is just an immature response to an important event. Both these parties should realise that BJP and NDA are NOT going to be losers on account of the boycott. 2. This was a good opportunity for the Congress party to explain to the people how during the UPA regime, then Union Finance minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee and his government made efforts to introduce GST but did not succeed. One of the reasons for failure of Shri Mukherjee was rather cold response to GST from many State governments, particularly the BJP ruled ones. 3. It appears that the Congress is rapidly losing its credibility as an opposition party and citizens like me who wish that as a centrist party the Congress has some future are certainly not happy with the current leadership’s responses to different political developments.
        Reply
        1. A
          ashok
          Jun 29, 2017 at 7:08 am
          Mrs Mamta the communists are worried that the government would get the name and hence they want to boycott the launch of GST it would not be a surprise if Congress follows after all Congress needs the help of these parties
          Reply
          1. S
            Sreekanth
            Jun 29, 2017 at 7:39 am
            This at ude of criticising opposition and supporting BJP blindly show go. What Yechury and Mamatha says they want GST Network should be tested properly and their concern is correct to some extent. Note that head of GST Network software said that the program was not tested fully as they don't have time. Nothing is going to loose if GST implement from Oct-17. It is also very clear even the different staff from different tax system has to come under one roof and that coordination is also missing. Because Excise Duty staff and CST Staff has still no clarity who is going to do what. Already we are seeing the after math of demonetisation, so many farmers are committing suicides and 5 states have announced crores of rupees of Loan Waiver. India definitely doesn't need fast track implementation of GST at this time.
            Reply
            1. S
              Surendra Nadhan
              Jun 29, 2017 at 10:25 am
              During the past eight years, the bill was scrutinised by Congis with the support of communists and mamta and Co and when the time has come to implement the bill, these people are of the view that the BJP will take the benefits. Instead of taking part of this mega event by one and all they are doing Nakras and Nautangi. It is the time to show One Natioan spirit to the world. I don't know why the Congress is committing mistakes without any forethought.
              1. R
                Rahul
                Jun 29, 2017 at 10:40 am
                If doubters and naysayers have their way, nothing will ever happen...no new thing takes off perfectly, so fault-finding is not going to lead anywhere...
                1. R
                  Raman Vr
                  Jun 29, 2017 at 12:06 pm
                  GST council is headed by a very senior member of the TMC. And he has no problem. It is well understood by the people that there will be some teething problems in any new venture, No one stops a child learn to walk or run fearing it will get hurt. Have the TMC , Left and Congress members learnt cycling without hurting their knee?