India embraces Goods and Services Tax 

Invoking the ideals of "New India", Modi said that the rollout of the GST will herald "Ek Bharat-Shresht Bharat".

Published: 01st July 2017 12:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st July 2017 12:55 AM   |  A+A-

President Pranab Mukherjee addresses the special ceremony in the Central Hall of Parliament for the launch of 'Goods and Services Tax GST ' in New Delhi on Saturday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also seen. (PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: At the stroke of midnight, India finally embraced the Goods and Services Tax (GST), explained by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "Good and Simple Tax", with members of Parliament as witnesses to the epochal transition.

Modi drew parallel with the monumental exercise of unification of hundreds of princely states by India's first Home Minister Sardar Ballabh Bhai Patel, saying that the GST is likewise unveiling economic integration of the country.

Even while the grand occasion at the Central Hall of Parliament lost the lustre of unity in the political class following the boycott by the Congress, Trinamool Congress and the RJD, the Prime Minister credited the rollout of the GST to the success of cooperative federalism and democracy in the country. "From Ganganagar to Itanagar and from Leh to Lakshadweep, GST will unveil one nation, one tax," said Modi.

With President Pranab Mukherjee keenly listening, Modi recalled the journey of the GST, which began with the former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee constituting a committee under Vijay Kelkar and afterwards the introduction of the Constitution Amendment Bill in 2006 and underlined the collective efforts of different governments and stakeholders.

The PM seemed aware of the possibility of the glitches and pains to traders, as he suggested that time is needed to adjust to transition even while he cautioned people from rumour mongering.

Seeking to give an esteemed position to the momentous event, Modi noted that Gita has 18 chapters as had been the number of meetings of the GST Council. Referring to a host of luminaries, including Albert Einstein, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Chanakya, the Prime Minister sugar-coated the rollout of the GST strongly as a decisive step to uplift the conditions of the poor. "The additional resources will help eastern Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand and Bihar to join the path of economic prosperity," Modi noted.

Apparently addressing the concerns that the rollout of the GST may mark the return of the Inspector Raj, the Prime Minister stressed that the simplicity of the measure, in contrast, would end tax terrorism and help the country improve ease of doing business, besides boosting exports.

Invoking the ideals of "New India", Modi said that the rollout of the GST will herald "Ek Bharat-Shresht Bharat".

President Pranab Mukherjee too retraced the journey of the GST and said that he had been personally attached to the monumental exercise.

Both President and the Prime Minister jointly pressed the button to inaugurate the GST.

Earlier speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely said that the rollout of the GST signified India rising above narrow politics while stating that the old India was economically fragmented.

 "With the rollout of the GST, India is awakening to limitless possibility. While the old India was economically fragmented, new India will write a new destination with the Centre and states working toward shared prosperity," Jaitely said in his introductory remark, while noting the consensual approach adopted in the meetings of the GST Council.


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