With landmark Goods and Services Tax (GST) now a law, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday hoped the government will set up a GST Council soon and reduce cascading effect of indirect taxes.
The GST, which will transform India’s USD 2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion consumers into a single market for the first time, has been ratified by 19-20 states after Parliament nod last month, thereby qualifying to Presidential assent, he said.
“And I do hope the finance ministry will take appropriate steps to set up the GST council to fix the rate because it is the responsibility of the GST Council that one uniform rate of goods and services is introduced in our economy,” he said at the centenary celebrations of Karur Vysya Bank in Chennai.
GST, which will replace an array of central and state indirect taxes like excise duty, service tax and VAT, will “not only be a one uniform rate of taxes but it will also be single point taxation not multi-point taxation and therefore the cascading effect would not be very serious,” he said.
Mukherjee said the effort made over almost one and half decade fructified with the passage of GST legislation.
“Finally with the constitutional procedures being complied and constitution amendment being carried by both Houses of Parliament and day before yesterday more than 19 states, perhaps 20 states, ratified and therefore it has qualified for Presidential assent,” he said.
Mukherjee said India has firmly established itself as the fastest growing large economy with a GDP growth rate of 7.3 per cent in calendar year 2015.
“We can say confidently that our economy has revived and our prospects are brighter as we are poised to grow at 7.5 per cent in both 2016 and 2017,” he said.
He said India’s external sector has remained steady with current account deficit improving to 1.1 per cent of GDP in 2015-16 from 1.3 per cent in the previous year.
Foreign exchange reserves stand at USD 365 billion.
“Blessed with a normal monsoon this year, I am hopeful that our food grain production will surpass the record of 265 million tons achieved in 2013-14,” he said.