Just a few hours remain before India launches the biggest the tax reform ever with the roll out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) . Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government has called for a joint special session of the parliament at midnight today to mark the occasion. Many popular personalities have been invited apart from the parliamentarians. Amitabh Bachan, Lata Mangeshkar, Ratan Tata are some of the big names in the invitees' list. PM Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee will be giving speeches at the parliament session.
Originally, the launch of GST which had been in the works for over a decade, was to be done from Vigyan Bhawan -- the largest convention centre in the national capital that has hosted majority of the meetings of the GST Council.
But the historic Central Hall was thought to be a better choice considering the importance of the new indirect tax code that unifies more than a dozen separate levies to create a single market with a population greater than the US, Europe, Brazil, Mexico and Japan put together.
Even though there the government is going full out, there is uncertainty if the transition will be smooth.
Here are the latest updates:
4:19 PM: Public will get freedom from 16 taxes, 1,150 toll taxes, different rates in the country and complexities of tax through this GST rollout, tweeted Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chauhan.
4:14 PM: India is described as a bright spot in the global economy. It has emerged as one of the most attractive global investment destinations, PM said at inaugural function of Textile India 2017.
4:12 PM: Hours before GST roll out, PM Narendra Modi addresses the inaugural function of Textiles India 2017. Watch the event LIVE here .
3:50 PM: 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
India is described as a bright spot in the global economy. It has emerged as one of the most attractive global investment destinations: PM— PMO India (@PMOIndia) June 30, 2017
3:45 PM: 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
India deserves a #GST rollout that does not put crores of its ordinary citizens, small businesses & traders through tremendous pain &anxiety— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) June 30, 2017
3:21 PM: Even US President Donald Trump praised GST, said Nitin Gadkari at India Today midnight conclave.
3:19 PM: After much deliberation, the Samajwadi Party has decided to attend the midnight Parliament session on Goods and Services Tax (GST).
A reform that holds great potential is being rushed through in a half-baked way with a self-promotional spectacle #GSTTamasha— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) June 30, 2017
2:14 PM: The generation of black money will be reduced, says Nitin Gadkari
2:13 PM: State governments and Centre revenue will increase simultaneously which will eventually increase the budget to work: Nitin Gadkari
1:54 PM: Congress must show some maturity. They have gone into cry baby mode: Arun Jaitley
1:52 PM: I think the roll out would be smooth for GST, however, when a change of this level happens there might be some problems, technical glitches but we are ready for anything, says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
1:50 PM: Can luxurious car like Mercedes and slippers have the same tax, asks Arun Jaitley while defending the different slabs under GST regime.
1:49 PM: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, lists out the benefits of Goods and Services Tax Bill for all at India Today midnight conclave.
1:41 PM: We would include real estate in GST within a year, will curb black marketing, says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
1:39 PM: Single system tax slab in a country like India is impossible, says Arun Jaitley over discussion about the Goods and Services Tax Bill
1:39 PM: Congress must decide whether it will take a fringe or mainstream stand over the relevant issues, says FM Arun Jaitley.
1:36 PM: Every state government of Congress party has opposed the inclusion of petroleum in GST, says FM Arun Jaitley
1:36 PM: We are in talks with Jammu and Kashmir government over GST, says Arun Jaitley
1:33 PM: Political parties and state governments have to be on the same page over the Goods and Services Tax Bill, says Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
1:28 PM: We have fully prepared for GST roll out, parties should not do any politics over it, says FM Arun Jaitley.
1:26 PM: The scope of tax evasion in the new Goods and Services Tax regime, will be minimum, says Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at India Todat midnight conclave for GST.
1:22 PM: Under the Goods and Services Tax Bill, we are abolishing 17 taxes, says Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
1:17 PM: Minor technical glitches are bound to happen, we are prepared to tackle such challenges after GST roll out: Arun Jaitley
1:15 PM: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley denied Congress' allegation, says GST roll out is not a self promotion tactic.
1:07 PM: GST is surely one of such steps which will take the country ahead,says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at India Today GST conclave.
1:03 PM: Arun Jaitley, Minister for Corporate Affairs, Finance and Defence takes the stage of India Today midnight conclave to explain the GST.
1:00 PM: When people will start paying taxes happily and there will be a shrink in the grey market, only then it will an occasion to celebrate, not now: Manish Sisodia
12:54 PM: Higher the tax rates, higher the tax evasions, says Manish Sisodia.
12:51 PM: In the entire taxation process, it is only the governments which are going to gain, not the aam aadmi: Manish Sisodia
12:49 PM: Deputy CM of New Delhi, Manish Sisodia tries to explain GST in a simpler language. Watch it here: 12:49 PM: Deputy CM of New Delhi, Manish Sisodia tries to explain GST in a simpler language. Watch it here:
12:47 PM: There are inhibitions on the implementation of the bill. Our party is not against GST: Manish Sisodia
12:46 PM: It was unfortunate that real estate was kept outside of GST ambit: Manish Sisodia
12:46 PM: 28 per cent tax is a bit too much for India's common man, says delhi's Deputy CM, Manish Sisodia
12:43 PM: Deputy Chief Minister of New Delhi, Manish Sisodia joins India Today midnight conclave over GST roll out.
12:40 PM: India is the only federal country in world that is going to have GST, says Bibek Debroy at India Today GST conclave.
12:23 PM: NCP slams the Congress, questions opposition that if all parties passed the Goods and Services Tax Bill, what is the point of opposing it now?
12:11 PM: Cong leader Anand Sharma takes a dig at PM Narendra Modi, says even a sneeze by Prime Minister is being considered as historic.
12:00 PM: Government should not have hurried with Goods and Services Tax Bill, says Anand Sharma of Congress at India Today's midnight conclave.
11:55 AM: If congress could not digest the fact that Modi became PM as Venkaiah Naidu said, we would not have been here having this discussion, says Anand Sharma, Congress' senior leader.
11:50 AM: Even Atal ji never indulged in antics, says Cong senior leader Anand Sharma
11:46 AM: Congress' senior leader, Anand Sharma joins Rajdeep Sardesai at India Today's GST conclave, said opposition to midnight meeting over GST is ideological.
11:40 AM: Venkaiah Naidu made a final appeal to opposition at India Today's midnight conclave over attending the historic midnight GST session. He said its a culmination of efforts of all parties.
11:38 AM: GST is a combined effort of not just one party but many parties and governments, said Venkaiah Naidu at India Today midnight conclave.
11:34 AM: Only habitual tax evaders are opposing. The Finance Minister going out and chartered accountants of India are building up momentum including media to educate people over GST: Venkaiah Naidu
11:31 AM: Congress is not able to digest the fact that Narendra Modi was elected in 2014 as Prime Minister, Venkaiah Naidu said at India Today's GST conclave.
11:18 PM: Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu praises Arun Jaitley at India Today GST conclave, says, "After consultation for two years my colleague Arun Jaitley has done a great job".
11:14 PM: All states chief ministers were consulted for the GST, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu tells Rajdeep Sardesai at India Today's GST conclave.
11:11 AM: India Today's GST conclave begins in New Delhi, Urban development Minister Venkaiah Naidu says the Atal Bihari Vajpayee drafted the GST first.
10:15 AM: Last meeting of GST council to be held in New Delhi today to finalise minute details before the tax regime comes into effect tonight.
10:00 AM: People should not believe in any misinformation, GST has a transparent process. It will give benefits to honest taxpayers, says Hasmukh Adhia, Revenue Seceratary
9:45 AM: After Congress, RJD and TMC, now Nitish Kumar has also decided not to attend the GST midnight meet.
9:30 AM: However, on Thursday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley asked opposition parties such as Congress and the Left to reconsider their decision to skip the midnight GST launch today saying they were all consulted on the indirect tax reform and cannot run away from it.
9:23 AM: Opposition parties Congress,RJD and TMC has decided to boycott the event hinting the GST roll out, despite being an important step forward, did not require a midnight session.
9:20 AM: But not everyone's happy about the special parliament session for the roll out of the GST . Rival politicians have suggested that the Prime Minister is using the special midnight session to make it a spectacle for his achievements. D Raja from the CPI called the joint session nothing but a drama by the Modi government.
9:15 AM: Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar will be among the attendees, which also includes BJP president Amit Shah and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha.
9:10 AM: At 10:45 PM, the function is expected to start with the screening of a 10-minute short film on GST for the guests, which would be followed by speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee.
9:00 AM: The launch event will start at 11 pm on June 30 and extend into the midnight, coinciding with the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, the event is expected to be 80-minute long.