Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday midnight formally launched India’s biggest ever tax reform since Independence the Goods and Serivces Tax (GST). Speaking at the GST rollout ceremony at the Central Hall in Parliament House in New Delhi, the Prime Minister said the GST, in reality, means ‘Good and Simple Tax’. “In a short while, India will move towards a new direction. We are deciding India’s future course,” the Prime Minister said. “GST is such a system which is easy, and will seek to stop black money and corruption, the Prime Minister added. PM Modi also said the tax reform will eliminate compounding effects of multi-layered tax system.
President Pranab Mukherjee, who spoke at the event after the Prime Minister, said the tax reform is a tribute to India’s democracy. “GST is a tribute to the maturity and wisdom of India’s democracy,” said Mukherjee. The President went on to say he was confident that GST tax reform will become a reality in the country. “This historic moment is culmination of a 14-year-long journey,” President Mukherjee said. “I was confident GST is a matter of time,” he added.
After the speech by the President and the Prime Minister, the GST reform was formally launched at midnight with a strike of the gong. A host of dignitaries came to attend the gala event at the Parliament including President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, among others. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not come to attend the ceremony, along with leaders from Congress party, who boycotted the ceremony.
Earlier, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, at his introductory speech at the ceremony, said the the tax reform will create a united India. “The old India was economically fragmented, the new India will create one tax, one market and for one nation,” Jaitley said He further went on to say that GST reform will make a new journey for India. “India will launch its biggest tax reform at midnight. India will awake to limitless possibilities. It marks the beginning of a new journey for India,” the finance minister said.