West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee has decided to skip the "the 30th June, 2017 midnight programme at the Parliament House to celebrate GST, as a mark of protest." The country's biggest indirect tax reform is all set to be implemented from July 1.
Banerjee said in a post on Facebook that the GST was "another epic blunder of the Centre" after demonetisation andhat her party was "deeply concerned about GST implementation." She added that the TMC was not against GST but against the "ill-planned" roll-out of the tax regime.
Banerjee further added that the infrastructure for implementing GST was still not in place and that the "entire business community, especially the small and medium ones, are scared and confused."
Banerjee also accused the BJP of taking a U-turn on GST after opposing the tax reform for seven years while in Opposition.
Here is her full post on Facebook:
We are deeply concerned about GST implementation.
After demonetisation, this unnecessary disastrous hurry is another epic blunder of the Centre.
We have been for GST from the beginning but are very worried now with the way the Central Government is going ahead with the implementation.
Our repeated suggestions to take some more time to properly implement GST have fallen in deaf ears. The entire business community, especially the small and medium ones, are scared and confused. Only 60 hours are left before this ill planned launch and no one knows for sure what's happening!
Essential commodities such as medicines are not available in many places and prices of various commodities are rising for lack of clarity and mismanagement.
We have always been fighting for maintaining the federalist structure of the country, even if Bengal at times was the lone voice and conscience of the GST Council.
There are almost 20 different taxes in the present tax regime and we felt that one single tax and integration of all markets across the country will provide big relief to all.
The current ruling party at the Centre had initially strongly opposed GST for over 7 years and suddenly did a somersault on coming to office as a champion of GST.
We are saying that the economy is not yet ready to face the GST from the 1st of July, 2017. The 3 days strike declared by the Textile Industries of India provides evidence to our deep concerns on the lack of preparedness.
Small business entities are not yet ready with the basic requirements like invoice, accounting system, IT system, etc. Another piece of evidence of unpreparedness comes from the fact that the 'Return Form' had to be simplified for the first 6 months as all systems are not in place.
It is shocking that the e-Waybill System is not yet designed and States are being asked to run their own systems as a stopgap arrangement.
We feel, at least 6 months will further be necessary to notify all rules and procedures and give enough time to the stakeholders, particularly the Small and Medium Enterprises to successfully implement the GST.
Otherwise a chaotic situation may arise in our vast economy for which the Government of India will be primarily responsible.
I hope the voices of the people and businesses is being heard and being paid heed to, by the Central Government.
Our Parliamentary Party has decided not to attend the 30th June, 2017 midnight programme at the Parliament House to celebrate GST, as a mark of protest.
I thought of sharing this with all of you.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and members of Parliament will be present at the launch, which will take place in the Central Hall of Parliament.
All states and union territories (UTs), except Jammu and Kashmir, have passed the State GST Act while Kerala and West Bengal have issued an ordinance to approve the State GST Act.