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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be delivering a speech at the launch of the Goods and services TAx (GST) regime at a midnight event at Central Hall of the Parliament on Friday. The 23-minute speech has been scheduled for 11.15 pm, which will be followed by President Pranab Mukherjee addressing the gathering in a 22-minute speech.
The tax reform, thought of as the biggest since Independence, will be launched at 12.00 am in the night with the sound of a gong. At 12.03 am, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Ananth Kumar will announce the event as officially having ended, after which the national anthem shall be played.
The special midnight session has almost 600 invitees. Major Opposition parties, however, have planned to give the event a miss as they claim the tax reform is unfair on small traders. The Congress, TMC and CPIM have refused invitation based on these concerns. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was the UPA finance minister before PM-ship, was sent a special invitation but he refused to appear as well.
The Samajwadi Party, however, will be seen attending the event, as well as former PM Deve Gowda. Apart from the PM and the President, all chief ministers of states, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and members of parliament of Rajya Sabha as well as Lok Sabha will be present. The Central Hall, the biggest convention hall in the Parliament has been especially loaned for the event. The Parliament house in Lutyens Delhi has been decked up with lights mounted on the perimetre.