A number of prominent trade unions across the country on Friday will participate in strikes and stage protests against the imposition of Goods and Services Tax from July 1. The trade unions are opposing the “excessive” tax slabs and “complex processes” under the GST regime, The Hindu reported. Meanwhile, traders in Kanpur stopped the Jhansi Express, while protesting against the GST, DNA reported.

As many as 40 trade unions in New Delhi will be extending their support to the nation-wide bandh, the Chamber of Trade and Industry said. “On Friday, representatives of prominent trade unions from across the city will hold a protest at the Kashmere Gate market,” said CTI National Convenor Brijesh Goyal.

The Bharatiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal, which represents some 17,000 big and medium traders’ associations, also called for a daylong bandh to protest the implementation of GST, India.com reported.

On Thursday, as many as 50,000 textile dealers in Ahmedabad had shut their shops seeking an exemption on the 5% GST on the textiles industry. The diamond and textile industry traders in Surat too had observed a bandh. Gujarat trade union leaders had said nearly three lakh traders had extended support to the bandh call across the state.

Local traders in Agra protested by reciting the Sundar Kand – part of Ramacharitmanas – for “purification of the mind and soul of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley,” reported International Business Times.

The GST reform will be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Central Hall in the Parliament in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee at midnight tonight.

Politics of GST

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley appealed to all Opposition parties who plan to boycott the GST launch, and asked them to reconsider. “I hope every political party will reconsider and revisit its decision,” he said. He also thanked state governments for their cooperation in implementing the new tax regime.

Union minister Venkaiah Naidu also appealed to those skipping the launch. “I still appeal to Congress and other parties boycotting GST event to reconsider. It’s not a party function,” he said.

The Congress has called the midnight launch an event for the sake of publicity. President Pranab Mukherjee though, welcomed the uniform tax and thanked Modi and Jaitley for pushing it.

Several parties including the Trinamool Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Rashtriya Janata Dal are boycotting the event at Parliament.