Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that India’s biggest tax reform in decades, the national Goods and Services Tax or GST, will be launched at midnight on June 30.
Jaitley said President Pranab Mukherjee , Prime Minister Narendra Modi and two of his predecessors will be on stage in the central hall of parliament for the launch. PM Modi will deliver a speech at the special gathering of parliamentarians. All Chief Ministers will be invited for the inauguration, said Jaitley.
The GST, India’s most ambitious tax reform, replaces an unwieldy patchwork of tariffs and creates a single economic zone with common indirect taxes – something that neither the European Union nor the United States can boast.
Amid requests by states like West Bengal to delay the July 1 launch, the Finance Minister has been stressing that the reform would be rolled out as scheduled, but companies will be allowed to file late returns for the first two months so that they can adapt to a new online filing system. The strict GST filing timetable will apply from September.
The government has said GST could add two percentage points to economic growth.
There will be four tax slabs – 5, 12, 18 and 28 percent.