Criticising the Congress and Left parties decision to boycott the GST launch event at the Parliament Central Hall on June 30 midnight, Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday hoped they would reconsider their stand and support the roll-out. Calling GST as the single most important taxation reform in 70 years, Jaitley said the government remains committed to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as any other reform.
All the decisions regarding GST — including rules and tax rates — were taken in consultation with the states, political parties must display broad shoulder and own up their responsibility, Jaitley said.
Speaking to reporters, Jaitley said: “I can’t recall any discussion which has been more or greater than the one in the case of GST. Those who were party to this consultation and decision-making process must also accept this is not a decision of the Central government, it’s equally a decision which 31 state governments and Union Territories have been a party to and these are representing various political complexions.”
Announcing the boycott at a press conference in New Delhi, the Congress said the GST would hurt small traders. “The country is ill prepared… the Congress asked the government on the floor of the House on what steps it has taken to help small traders…,” Congress Rajya Sabha MP Anand Sharma said. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad claimed the BJP stalled GST for “seven long years”.
Left parties also followed suit and decided to stay away from the midnight event. “The Left will not be participating in the midnight GST
meeting. People are agitating across the county. There are serious apprehensions in the minds of people over GST’s implementation. We cannot be celebrating when people are agitating,” CPI Rajya Sabha MP D Raja said.
Earlier, Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that the party will skip the event. The hour-long event will begin with President Pranab Mukherjee sounding a gong to announce the roll-out. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one of the key speakers.