Midnight event to usher in GST

Midnight event to usher in GST
The historic Central Hall in Parliament will witness a special midnight event on June 30 to roll out India's biggest tax reform---the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

A conch was blown to herald the birth of a new nation on August 15, 1947; similarly, a gong will be sounded on June 30 .

Present on the dais will be President Pranab Mukherjee, who will roll out GST, vice president Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the key speaker.

Mukherjee, as Union finance minister, had laid down the basic structure for GST in 2009. He, too, will speak.Two former prime ministers, Manmohan Singh and H D Deve Gowda, will share the stage with Modi. The hour-long ceremony will begin at 11 pm.

It will include screening of two short films on the decade-long journey of GST. Chief ministers of all states will be invited as GST represents an unprecedented exercise in fiscal federalism.

All members of the GST Council and officials involved in making it a reality will be present. The discussion on GST was flagged off in 2000 by the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who subsequently set up a committee headed by Asim Dasgupta, the then finance minister of West Bengal, to put in place the technology and logistics.

The draft underwent several changes but Dasgupta remained the chairman of the committee till 2011. He is one of the invitees at the historic Friday event.

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