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GST launch highlights | GST will have initial teething problems that Council will have to overcome: President

Goods and Services Tax (GST) launched.

india Updated: Jul 01, 2017 17:28 IST
Suchetana Ray
BJP party workers with MLA Raj Purohit, Akash Raj Purohit, Ashish Shelar celebrate implementing of “GST” one nation one tax which will be on effect tomorrow at Kalwadevi , in Mumbai, India, on Friday, 30 June, 2017.
BJP party workers with MLA Raj Purohit, Akash Raj Purohit, Ashish Shelar celebrate implementing of “GST” one nation one tax which will be on effect tomorrow at Kalwadevi , in Mumbai, India, on Friday, 30 June, 2017. (HT Archive)

In the making since 2000, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will finally kick-in from July 1.

The GST was launched at midnight at a function inside Parliament’s Central Hall.

Touted by the government as the biggest tax reform since Independence, the GST is meant to boost growth and scrap local taxes that add to overhead costs and stymie businesses.

Read: Rehearsals, decorative lights, Central Hall clean-up: How the GST launch function will unfold

Foodgrains, cereals and vegetables have been zero rated under GST, other rate slabs are 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%. A cess will also be added to certain sin and luxury products.

Below are the highlights of the event:

12:00am: GST is like VAT, there was initial apprehensions and teething problems. But we will have to overcome them: President

11:56pm: GST is the example of the maturity of the relation between states and centre: President

11:55pm: There were apprehensions about GST and the vast array of goods and services it encompasses, but the Council has ensured that this work is done: President

11:51pm: GST is the culmination of a 14 year-long journey that began with the Kelkar Committee report in 2002: President

11:50pm: GST is not only Goods and Services Tax but also Good and Simple Tax: Modi

11:46pm: GST is a system that will allow states and the centre to work together towards a new India. And GST will be an important aspect of a new India: Modi

11:42pm: It is true that computer literacy is a problem but we know it is not unsurmountable. It is time to end cynicism and help this new momentum: Modi

11:40pm: GST is simple, transparent and will end corruption and black money: Modi

11:33pm: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel unified the country and GST will bring economic unity to India: Modi

11:30pm: The Central Hall of Parliament has seen many historical moments, so it is the perfect venue for launch of GST: Modi

11:25pm: GST is not the legacy of one political party but the collective legacy of all political parties: Modi

11:21pm: India will move in a new direction with GST implementation: Modi

11.18pm: GST Council met 18 times, and there was never any need for voting, because of the unanimity: Jaitley

11:16pm: The old India was economically fragmented, the new India will create one tax, one market and for one nation: Jaitley

11:16pm: The underlying principle of fixing GST rates was to ensure tax neutrality and to avoid unnecessary burden on the common man: Jaitley

11:15pm: I got my first lessons on GST from former finance minister of West Bengal, Asim Dasgupta: Jaitley

11:10pm: GST shows India can rise above narrow politics: Jaitley

11:07pm: Arun jaitley begins his speech by thanking GST Council.

11pm: GST ceremony begins in Central Hall of Parliament with national anthem.

10:50pm: Traders from Adarsh Vyapar Mandal celebrate GST launch in Lucknow.

Lucknow. (HT)

10:42pm: Rollout of the GST is historical as it will bring about a revolutionary change in the country, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis says.

10:40pm: Being a weaver by community, I hold responsibility to highlight the grievance of the textile sector. GST destroys handlooms, says Congress MP Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu.

10:35pm: Did you know?

It is only fourth time in the history of Independent India that a midnight function is being organised in the Central Hall of Parliament. The previous three were the moment of Independence on the night of August 14-15, 1947, its silver jubilee celebration in 1972 and the third the golden jubilee celebration of Independence in 1997.

10:30pm:

10:24pm: Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Ananda Bhaskar Rapolu today wrote to Jaitley appealing for immediate review and reversal of GST proposals on handlooms and powerlooms raw material and products.

10:00pm: Ministers and invitees start arriving at Parliament House for GST launch.

9:56pm:

9:55pm: In bringing out any reforms, there will be initial hiccups, but those can be addressed: Venkaiah Naidu.

9:50pm: There is apprehension about the GST within the BJP leadership itself, West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra says. He adds even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stiffly opposed the tax regime before taking over the country’s top post.

9:47pm: The commerce ministry has aligned provisions of the foreign trade policy with GST.

9.40pm: Next three GST Council meetings will be held on first Saturdays of the month starting from August 2017, reports ANI.

9:32pm: GST will adversely impact sales, profits in short-term, Dabur said in its regulatory filing.

9:12pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaches Vigyan Bhawan to meet GST Council members from across states.

9:00pm: Arun Jaitley to address a GST-related meeting at the Talkatora Stadium on July 6.

8:58pm: Delhi BJP to organise camps to help trader organisations and the common people on problems and “misconceptions” related to the GST.

8:49pm: “Under the GST regime, tax base will expand. More people will pay tax honestly. The GST experience may lead to lower tax rates in the future while tax revenue will go up,” says power minister Piyush Goyal.

8:47pm: Tamil Film Chamber of Commerce says in view of the lack of clarity on amount and extent of taxation on film exhibitions after GST kicks in, film theatre owners will cease screening movies from Monday.

8:45pm: Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal says GST will bring a paradigm shift in the entire indirect tax system.

8.32pm: I think India will grow faster, better, economy will be benefited, all the states will be benefited: Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra CM.

8:30pm: GST Council reduces tax rate on tractor parts from 28% to 18%. Fertilizer from 12% to 5%, says Jaitley.

8:20 pm: Parliament house decked up ahead of GST launch.

8:15pm: GST Council reduces tax rate on fertilizer from 12% to 5%, says Jaitley.

7:53pm: School supplies like pencils and books are unlikely to get costlier under the GST regime, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar says.

7:52pm:

7:40pm: GST council meeting begins in New Delhi.

7:36pm: “The challenge before the Congress party is now that they have to decide whether they will take fringe positions or will choose mainstream position,”Jaitley says.

7:35pm: Jaitley rejects Opposition charge of GST launch being a ‘self- promotion’, saying they should focus on mainstream rather than latching on to “fringe” issues.

7:30pm: Congress leader Anand Sharma says there is no reason to celebrate the GST rollout as the country is not yet ready for the new tax regime. “Parliament cannot be used for advertisement,” he adds.

7:20pm: Arun Jaitley to address media ahead of midnight Parliament session to usher in GST.

7:15pm: Finance minister Arun Jaitley chairing GST Council meeting in New Delhi.

7:10pm: Goa government to abolish its much criticised entry tax on the state borders as a fallout of the introduction of GST.

7:05pm: Chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian says GST is not a destination, it is a journey. “Hope to bring health, real estate, petrol under GST.”

7:00pm: PM Modi to address rally at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Saturday: TV reports

6:45pm: The GST may not be perfect and may cause some inconvenience initially but the government will make amendments if that happened, Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari says.

6:37pm: “At the stroke of midnight on 14th August, 1947, India won her freedom. Now, at the midnight of 30th June, 2017, freedom and democracy stand to face grave danger,” Mamata says in a Facebook post.

6:36pm: Mamata adds the GST rules will lead to harassment of small traders and businesses.

6:35pm: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee says GST will bring back the dreaded “Inspector Raj”.

6:34pm: A special session of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly will be held from July 4, to discuss the implementation of GST.

6:33pm: Union finance minister Arun Jaitley says Jammu and Kashmir will suffer major losses if it does not implement GST.

6:32pm:Jammu and Kashmir misses the July 1 deadline for GST rollout as the state government maintained that it is in “consultations” to build a consensus for implementing the new tax regime.

6:30pm: To create a workforce of GST-trained professionals, the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship announced a 100-hour certificate course to understand the new tax regime, officials said. The course will start from July 15 in three cities.

6:00pm: Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant says implementation of GST will make India a formal, easier and simpler, and a more revenue generating economy.

5:40pm: Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma slams the BJP-led NDA government for holding the GST roll out function in Parliament’s Central Hall, terming it as an “insult” to its prestige and a “publicity” tool while asserting that the party will not participate in the launch.

5:30pm: GST Network launches an offline Excel based format for traders and businesses to upload sales data on the GST portal. This Excel template can be downloaded from the GST common portal (www.gst.gov.in), and can be used by taxpayers to collate all invoice related data on a regular basis.

4:55pm: The Aam Aadmi Party terms the GST a “good idea” with bad implementation, saying the high tax levies under the new regime will encourage tax evasion, increasing the size of grey market.

4:50pm: The GST rollout will end “Inspector Raj,” weed out black money from the system and end corruption, says Union minister Nitin Gadkari.

A hoarding on GST near Ashoka road in New Delhi. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

4:30pm: Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah says his party is not opposed to the GST, but against its usage as a “propaganda tool”.

4:15pm: Over a hundred textile traders protest at the Banappa Park in Bengaluru.

4:00pm:Rahul Gandhi dubs the implementation of GST as a “tamasha”, saying the reform was being rushed through in a “half-baked” manner as a “self-promotional spectacle”.

3:46pm: Unlike demonetisation, GST is a reform that Congress has championed and backed from the beginning but like demonetisation, GST is being executed by an incompetent and insensitive govt without planning foresight and institutional readiness: Rahul Gandhi

3:45pm: India deserves a GST rollout that does not put crores of its ordinary citizens, small businesses and traders through tremendous pain and anxiety, tweets Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi

3:15pm: Kerala finance minister Thomas Issac said he won’t be participating in the midnight roll out of the GST. “We are free not to join the event,” he said in Delhi.

3:00pm: The fear of unknown is the biggest challenge in the roll out of goods and services tax, GST Network chief Navin Kumar said, hours before its implementation.

2:50pm: Even though the traders staged protest, Madhya Pradesh finance minister Jayant Malaiya said GST will not have any adverse impact on the financial health of the state.

2:45pm: In Bhopal, majority of shops in various cities remained closed during the bandh. (HT Photo)

2:35pm: Telangana government has set up a toll free number 18004253787 to clarify doubts on GST. Several trade organisations have organised meetings to educate traders about GST and its impact.

2:27pm: We oppose GST, it’s a black law but since President will attend the launch we will go as we do not want to create controversy: Samajwadi Party’s Naresh Agrawal told ANI.

2:00pm: Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh said GST will end corruption. “Only those who want to weaken economy are opposing it; it will be historic,” Singh told ANI.

1:05pm: Traders stop Jhansi Express train to protest against GST in Kanpur (ANI Photo)

12:50pm:Traders in Lucknow shut shops to protest against GST rollout. (HT Photo/Deepak Gupta)

12:35pm: Did you know?
The Vajpayee government started discussion on GST by setting up an expert panel in 2000.

12:25pm: Who is liable to pay GST?
Businesses and traders with annual sales above Rs20 lakh are liable to pay GST. The threshold for paying GST is Rs 10 lakh in the case of north-eastern and special category states.

12:02pm: What gets cheaper, what becomes costlier?

Nil GST rates on meat other than frozen, chilled or fresh fish, dairy products, eggs, salt, fresh fruits, vegetables, non-branded cereals, flour, jaggery.

Tax burden comes down: Footwear (below Rs 500), medicines, mobile phones, readymade garments, musical instruments, processed food, contact lenses, iron ore, cars for physically challenged.

Tax burden goes up: Butter, television, footwear above Rs 500, biscuits, jam, wrist watch, cornflakes, baby food, small cars, mid-segment cars

11:48am: Ahead of the rollout, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu urged Congress to ‘rethink’ its stand on GST . “It’s really unfortunate because they are distancing themselves from the process of reformation in the country. I hope they (Congress) realise by evening and re-think and join us in the Central Hall,” Naidu said.

11:44am: Ahead of the launch, traders staged protest and called for bandh protesting the scheduled implementation of the new tax regime.

11:42am: In Jammu and Kashmir, the only state yet to pass the GST Bill, an all-party meeting was held on Thursday in Srinagar to evolve a consensus. All parties felt non-implementation would trigger economic and financial chaos.

11:41am: JD(U)’s Nitish Kumar has also decided to skip the launch ceremony. State minister Vijendra Yadav will attend the event on behalf of JD(U).

11:40am: Congress, Left, DMK, Trinamool have decided to skip the launch event.

11:33am: Two short films will also be screened during the launch.

11:32am: PM Narendra Modi, vice president Hamid Ansari, speaker of the Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan will also grace the occasion.

11:30am: GST will be launched in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee.

11:26am: The event will be telecast live on Lok Sabha TV and Doordarshan.

11:25am: The event is expected to be 80-minute long and will be organised in the Central Hall of the Parliament.

For complete coverage on GST, click here