India celebrated 68th Republic Day with President Pranab Mukherjee, PM Modi and other leaders greeting citizens today. The day began with chiefs of the three armed forces taking salute at the eternal flame — Amar Jawan Jyoti — in India Gate and the Prime Minister laying a wreath. It was followed by a colourfull parade ceremony on Rajpath.
This year’s novelty were tableau displaying the objectives of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and a debut of elite NSG commandoes in the Republic Day parade.
The tableau’s front part highlighted the objectives of GST like replacement of multiple Central and State level indirect taxes by it along with the basic essence of the proposed tax – one nation, one tax, one market.
While, its rear portion depicted various expected benefits of the GST like growth in investment, production of goods, services leading to higher exports, employment and also increase in GDP.
The GST, which aims to subsume a multitude of taxes, is the single biggest tax reform initiative undertaken since Independence. The Goods and Services Tax is likely to be rolled out from July 1, as against April 1 decided earlier by the government.
The tableau was by Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), apex indirect taxes related policy making body.
In a first, ‘black cat’ commandos of elite counter-terror force National Security Guard (NSG) participated in the Republic Day parade at Rajpath here.
A contingent of about 140 personnel in black overalls, balaclava headgear and carrying special assault rifle MP-5 added dashing sheen to the parade.
The commandos were given a rapturous round of applause by the spectators as they marched down Rajpath singing the NSG song “Hum haina haina hindustan” penned by renowned poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar.
The march past by the NSG also displayed ‘Sherpa’ — a specially designed hijack intervention vehicle — and two gypsies used for anti-hijack operations.
The NSG, which selects the best of the officers and men from the Indian Army as well as from various central armed police forces, was raised in 1984.
Ever since its inception, the NSG has carried out 115 anti-terror operations, including against the 26/11 Mumbai attack and the attack on Air Force Station, Pathankot. It possesses three Ashok Chakra, three Kirti Chakra, three Shaurya Chakra, 40 Sena Medal, 16 Vishisht Seva Medal and many more for meritorious service.