The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is set for a big launch on the midnight of June 30 at a function inside the Parliament’s Central Hall. President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Deve Gowda will be among those present at the event. Briefing the press on the GST launch, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said: “There will be a brief function of about one hour where the Prime Minister and President will speak on the subject and there are two short films on the subject of GST which have been prepared for this event.”
All the members of the Parliament, state finance ministers, GST council members and those who have been part of the GST process will be present at the event, Jaitley added.
Jaitley said the tax reform might face short-term challenges but in the long run it will check evasion. “The revenues will grow and the spending power of the states and centers will increase, it will have a positive impact on the economy…. In short term, there will be some challenges in switchover to GST.”
Asked about industry bodies, small and medium enterprises, not being prepared for the switch over to GST, Jaitley said the date of rollout has been announced well in advance and so “nobody had any business not to be ready”. Besides, additional time has been given in the initial period for filing of the results, thus giving enough time to prepare for the transition, he said. On the anti-profiteering clause in the GST law, he said the provision has been made as a deterrent which is not intended to be used unless forced to.
On June 18, when asked whether the date of rolling out the GST will be deferred, Jaitley said: there was no “luxury of time to defer the implementation” of GST.
The GST Council had earlier decided to relax the deadline for filing of returns for the first two months following GST’s rollout. The formal transition to the indirect tax regime is being billed as the biggest reform of its kind in independent India.