As the country witnessed the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) at the stroke of midnight, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated that the indirect tax regime was a shining example of cooperative federalism and that it would help in preventing the menace of black money and corruption. “India is an example of cooperative federalism. It is the result of long and continuous thought process,” the Prime Minister said ahead of the launch during a special ceremony in the Central Hall of Parliament.
“GST is a transparent and fair system that prevents black money and corruption and promotes new governance culture,” said PM Modi, highlighting that the GST was a result of combined efforts of all political parties. “GST is a result of a long thinking; all states along with Centre discussed for years,” he said.
Invoking Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the country’s first home minister, Modi said, “the GST is an economic integration of India just like what Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had done decades back to integrate the country.”
Listing out benefits of GST, the prime minister said it would bring an end to the long wait at toll plazas with GST integrating 31 states and Union Territories as one. He stated that GST has the potential to end harassment at hands of officers and expressed hope that traders would transfer its benefits to consumers. “GST is a good and simple tax regime that will eliminate the compounding effects of multi-layered tax system,” he said.
Touted as the most sweeping tax reform since Independence, GST will subsume more than a dozen central and state levies and bring the country under a common market, simplifying the tax structure and ensuring greater compliance. The GST has four tax slabs–5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent.
After addressing the ceremony, President Pranab Mukherjee, PM Modi pressed button to officially launch the GST. Among the host of dignitaries who were on the dais included Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda.
However, the Opposition tonight stood as a divided house as the JD(U), the NCP, the BJD, the Samajwadi Party and Janata Dal (S) participated in the midnight launch of the GST, which was boycotted by the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the Left and some other parties.
With inputs from PTI