Stage set for nationwide launch of GST at midnight tonight; FM asks industry to pass on benefits to consumers

Stage is set for the launch of a nationwide goods and services tax, GST, at a function in Central Hall of Parliament at midnight tonight. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil the new tax regime replacing more than a dozen state and central levies built up over seven decades, with a one national GST unifying the country’s 2 trillion dollar economy and 1.3 billion people into a common market.

Congress party has however decided to boycott the event apparently to protest against hardship being caused to small and medium enterprises and traders. Left, RJD, SP and TMC are also boycotting the event.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has made a last minute appeal to the opposition to reconsider their decision saying the landmark indirect tax reform was a result of a joint decision and they cannot run away from it now.

Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has termed the Congress decision of boycotting GST launch as unfortunate.

Briefing reporters in New Delhi, Naidu said, all the decision regarding the GST were taken by consensus among the States and all political parties. The launch event will start at 11 pm tonight and extend into the midnight, coinciding with the rollout of the GST regime.

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