Congress will repent decision to boycott GST rollout : Naidu

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NEW DELHI : Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday said that the Congress will repent its decision to boycott the midnight function in Parliament for the launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Talking to reporters here, Naidu said the function was being held in the Central Hall of Parliament at midnight to coincide with the time of the GST rollout from July 1.

 

The Congress decision was "untenable, illogical", the Union Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Information and Broadcasting Minister said.

"I don't understand why they have taken this step of boycotting (the launch)... Sooner of later they will repent besides paying a heavy price," he said.

Naidu said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the GST was a collective effort and had thanked political parties for their support.

The Congress on Thursday announced that it would boycott the GST rollout in Parliament on Friday night, saying the country was "ill-prepared" for its implementation and the Central Hall should not be used for such midnight functions.

The party said that such midnight sessions had been held only on three occasions related to the country's Independence.

Naidu asked: "Is it wrong to work at midnight? July 1 begins with midnight 12.00 a.m."

He also said the Central Hall was the centre of democracy and various programmes had been organised there.

Describing the history of GST, he said that the concept of a unified tax system was a result of consistent hard work initiated by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2000. 

He said the GST would be a historical and revolutionary change in taxation laws and benefit the country.  

Targeting the opposition party's decision, he said the bill was passed by Parliament with a two-thirds majority. 

"Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had talked with leaders of other political parties regarding the GST bill. I also met various leaders to discuss the bill," he said.

"All of them had agreed then. They appreciated the concept but now the BJP is stunned and surprised as to why the Congress party suddenly came up with the idea to boycott the launch."

"Did GST come suddenly? Is it being rolled out without discussion? No," he stressed.

"We did not want to take credit for GST. We have already thanked all political parties for their contribution to make GST a reality," Naidu said. 

"Lok Sabha has approved the bill. Rajya Sabha has approved the bill. Most of the states approved it and President recognised it," he added.

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