A starry Friday night for GST launch at Parliament
The government has sent out invitations to nearly 100 such public personalities, besides the members of both houses of Parliament, senior govt officials said.
The government has sent out invitations to nearly 100 such public personalities, besides the members of both houses of Parliament, senior government officials told ET.
BJP chief Amit Shah is expected to be present at the function along with former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, Reserve Bank of India governor Urjit Patel and former RBI governors C Rangarajan, Bimal Jalan, YV Reddy and D Subbarao. Heads of industry bodies CII, FICCI and ASSOCHAM have been invited, along with GST council members, Supreme Court judges and chief justices of high courts. A few of the invitees got personal calls from Union parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar, officials said.
The function is expected to start at 10:45 pm on Friday night, with a 10-minute film to be screened on GST for the guests, before President Pranab Mukherjee arrives.
Jaitley will make brief introductory remarks, an official said, followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee giving nearly 25-minute long speeches apiece.
GST will be launched at the stroke of the midnight hour, followed by screening of a two-minute film, and the President will leave soon thereafter. On the dais will be the President, PM, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and former PMs Manmohan Singh and HD Deva Gowda.
Officials said the government’s effort is to invite people from all walks of life for the GST launch function. Former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal has been invited, as has been the ‘Metro Man’ E Sreedharan. RSS ideologue S Gurumurthy, former Comptroller and Auditor Generals of India TN Chaturvedi and Vinod Rai, and noted agriculturalist MS Swaminathan are also on the list of invitees.
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee is expected to be at the function, as is former finance secretary and Finance Commission chairman Vijay Kelkar.
Bachchan has been appearing in the government’s GST advertisements and is among the “most important” guests, a government official said. Other important guests include Harish Salve, who was at the forefront of India’s efforts at the International Court of Justice to get a stay on Kulbushan Jadhav’s hanging in Pakistan, while veteran lawyer KK Venugopal is tipped to be the next Advocate General of India.
CEC Nasim Zaidi, the two ECs, the UPSC chairman, CAG Shashi Kant Sharma, CVC KV Chowdhary and NITI Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya have also been invited.
The government has made it a point to invite former chairpersons of the GST panel such as Bihar BJP leader Sushil Modi and National Conference leader Abdul Rahim Rather. CBEC chairman Vanaja N Sarna and CBDT chairman Sushil Chandra are also expected to be in the Central Hall for the GST function.