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Live: GST will be launched tonight, here’s how India is preparing


The much-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be rolled out from midnight tonight from the historic Central Hall of Parliament in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, finance minister Arun Jaitley and other Cabinet ministers, many chief ministers and senior government officials. The main function will begin from 11pm. The Congress and the Left parties have decided to skip the launch.

The GST will replace more than a dozen central and state taxes or Value Added Tax (VAT) with an aim to create a seamless unified market for the $2 trillion Indian economy.

Here are the live updates to the GST launch:

■ Consumers will have to shell out more for banking services, insurance premium payments and credit card bills with GST rollout from Saturday. ATM withdrawals, debit card transactions, fund transfers too will cost more. (read more)

■ Restaurants will present diners with two bills in some places on Friday—one before midnight, and one after that—to reflect the tax change after GST launch. (read more)

■ Retailers on an overdrive to clear stocks before the GST launch at midnight kicked in, as they wanted to minimise their pre-tax regime inventory. Prices of branded garments would go up from Saturday in line with the 12% GST rate on garments priced above Rs1,000. Those that cost less than Rs1,000 will be taxed at 5% and could be priced lower.

What was driving the discounts was the fact that traders will get only 60% credit for taxes paid by them while sourcing their stocks for meeting the GST liability on the sales they make, if invoices for taxes paid previously are not available. If documents proving taxes paid previously are available, full tax credit will be granted under the GST regime.

■ Power Minister Piyush Goyal today said that GST rollout is a transformational move aimed at increasing revenues that will bring down the taxes in future. (PTI)

■ The Delhi BJP today said it will organise camps to help trader organisations and the common people on problems and “misconceptions” related to the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari said finance minister Arun Jaitley will address a GST-related meeting at the Talkatora Stadium on 6 July.

■ Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal today said Goods and Services Tax (GST) will bring a paradigm shift in the entire indirect tax system. The single point single tax will benefit consumers of the country, he said. In a statement in Guwahati, Sonowal said “With introduction of GST, the countrymen will be relieved of multiple tax terrorism, which has been haunting the people since Independence. (PTI)

■ Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy today said the GST roll out will boost hiring across sectors by 11% by creating an integrated national market which will promote domestic demand and drive job creation.

Rudy said India was on the cusp of an economic revolution with the roll out of the GST, to be effective from midnight.

The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship today announced a training programme to certify Goods and Services Tax practitioners under its flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana to make the country’s passage to the new tax regime smooth and glitch free. (PTI)

■ The GST Council cuts tax rate on exclusive parts of tractors from 28% to 18%. (PTI)

■ The GST Council approves additional set of rules, and reduces tax rate on fertiliser from 12% to 5%. (PTI).

■ Consumers will have to shell out more for banking services, insurance premium payments and credit card bills with the GST rollout from tomorrow. Under the Goods and Services Tax, effective midnight tonight, most of the financial services would attract a higher tax of 18% as against 15% as of now.

■ Finance minister Arun Jaitley today rejected Opposition charge of GST launch being a ‘self- promotion’, saying they should focus on mainstream rather than latching on to “fringe” issues. He appealed to Congress, Left, TMC and RJD, who are boycotting the gala launch function, to rise above partisan politics.

The opposition parties have decided to boycott the midnight function in protest against the way GST is being implemented, claiming that it would adversely impact small and medium enterprises.

“Parties should rise above partisan politics. The Congress party had the opportunity to rise to the occasion. 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 told Aaj Tak GST Conclave. (PTI)

■ Despite West Bengal political leadership not in favour of the GST roll-out from 1 July, the migration has been to the tune of 97% in both state and central assesses.

“The migration level stands at 97 per cent, be it central or state assesses. We are fully geared for the new regime from tomorrow,” chief commissioner of Service Tax S K Panda told PTIthis evening.

“There are about 75,000 central assesses for central excise and service tax in this region. While, the state VAT tax payers are to the tune of some three lakhs. And in both the cases the migration level is 97%,” he said.

■ NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy today said any suggestion that the goods and services tax will boost GDP growth by 1-1.5 % is “utter rubbish”, terming it as an “imperfect GST” following changes from the originally proposed “ideal” structure.

The noted economist, however, quickly added that he will not “contradict” finance minister Arun Jaitley and revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia, when pointed out that they have been maintaining a similar boost to the GDP from the GST regime.

Debroy also said the number of countries with GST is not more than six or seven, even as some “rubbish” figures of about 140-160 countries having GST are floating around. Read more

■ The effective GST rate on under- construction real estate projects will be 12% only and not 18% as there will be abatement for land cost, according to tax consultant EY.

Realtors’ body CREDAI President Jaxay Shah also said that the effective GST rate would remain at 12% and assured that as per the law, the developers would pass on the benefits of input tax credit to home buyers.

Yesterday, the government hiked the GST rate for the construction sector to 18% from 12% but removed land value from computation of tax liability. (PTI)

■ Senior BJP leader and former head of ministerial committee on GST, Sushil Modi would be able to attend the GST launch function in New Delhi after Air India made arrangements to fly him after the tyre of his Indigo flight burst here.

■ The GST Council is going to meet today at 7pm at Vigyan Bhawan, ahead of the midnight launch of GST. The GST Council is chaired by finance minister Jaitley and all the state finance ministers.

Slamming the Modi government over the GST oll out at midnight tonight, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says it would bring back the dreaded “Inspector Raj”. In a scathing attack on the government, she said the GST rules would lead to harassment of small traders and businesses.

“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,” she said in a Facebook post.

Mamata, a strong critic of BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, said “I am shocked to find that the GST rules contain a rather draconian arrest clause which can lead to major harassment of businesses, particularly the small and medium, with some sections even being non-bailable too”.

“The mockery of Inspector Raj is back,” she said on the social networking site. (PTI)

■ Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) has called for general strike in the valley on Saturday against the proposed implementation of GST in the state.

“We are against this new law in which they talk about one India, one tax. We will not allow the implementation of this new law, even if we have to sacrifice our lives. We will not allow the erosion of our special status. We are giving a call for Kashmir bandh tomorrow,” KTMF president Muhammad Yasin Khan said in Srinagar. (PTI)

■ Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has said implementation of GST will make India a formal, easier and simpler, and a more revenue generating economy.

“GST will make India a formal, easier & simpler, a more revenue generating economy & 1 tax, 1 country economy. Will give a push 2 #MakeinIndia,” Kant said in tweet.

GST Network today launched an offline Excel based format for traders and businesses to upload sales data on the GST portal. The Excel template, comprising eight worksheets, is part of GST Network’s approach to make tax compliance easy and convenient for taxpayers and also reduce the time of compliance. As per the GST law, a return of all sales or trade made in a month have to be filed online by the 10th of the following month. Read more

■ Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Friday dubbed the implementation of GST as a “tamasha”, saying the reform was being rushed through in a “half-baked” manner as a “self-promotional spectacle”.

Gandhi, currently abroad on a holiday, hit out at the government, accusing it of being “insensitive” for rolling out GST without planning, foresight and institutional readiness, as it did during demonetisation. “A reform that holds great potential is being rushed through in a half-baked way with a self-promotional spectacle #GSTTamasha,” he said on Twitter.

“But like demonetisation, GST is being executed by an incompetent and insensitive government without planning, foresight and institutional readiness,” Gandhi also tweeted.


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