New era started with GST, says PM Narendra Modi

Updated: 07:18 GMT, Jul 1, 2017 | Published: 07:14 GMT, Jul 1, 2017 |

The goods and services tax (GST), a radical step towards the country’s transformation into a common market, became a reality at the stroke of midnight with Prime Minister Narendra Modi billing it a “good and simple tax” which would help business persons by putting an end to tax terrorism and inspector raj.  It would also contribute to the welfare of people and the fight against corruption and black money, he added.

President Pranab Mukherjee and PM Modi pressed buttons in the historic Central Hall of Parliament to usher in the new regime, which promises to lower the tax burden by doing away with the cascading effect of 17 central and state taxes — apart from 23 cesses — and to facilitate free movement of goods across state borders. “From Ganganagar to Itanagar, from Leh to Lakshadweep, the dream of one nation, one tax will be fulfilled,” Modi said.

The PM, who quoted Albert Einstein and Chanakya, besides passages from the Vedas, described implementation of GST as a huge accomplishment, on par with the merger of more than 500 principalities into the Indian Union. ” Imagine what India would have looked like today had Sardar Patel not united all the principalities of India. Just like that, GST will unite India into one market,” he said. He also referred to the coincidence of the GST Council having its 18th meeting on Friday, just ahead of the GST launch, and the Bhagavad Gita having 18 chapters.

Modi said GST was not just about taxation reform. “It is about cooperative federalism, it will help fight black money and corruption and usher in a new culture of governance, giving an opportunity to honesty. It brings in a new culture of governance,” he said, adding that it would help “find resources to help the poor without disproportionately burdening anybody” — a pitch reminiscent of the hardsell of demonetisation.