GST Bill passed: How world media reported India’s historic economic reform

GST Bill passed: How world media reported India’s historic economic reform

Various news organisations from all around the world focused on the bill unifying the country and it being an achievement of the Narendra Modi government.

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New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressing a press conference at Parliament House after the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha in New Delhi on Wednesday evening. PTI Photo

As the Goods and Services Tax Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha, it also brought India at the center of the global economy. With the passing of the bill, many international newspapers published their views on how the GST Bill brings a new wave of economic reform in the country.

The Washington Post, highlighting the unity in the country despite its diversity, said that the bill is a big step toward unifying the country even further, saying that an “economic legacy has to start somewhere.” It also remarked on the time that it would take for the bill to be implemented but had an overall positive outlook towards it. “As with all previous attempts to unify India in various ways, this law’s implementation will probably take years. Results may not be visible by the end of Modi’s first term, in 2019. But with only two years under Modi’s belt — a very short time in India — hopes are still high for a brighter economic future,” it said.

In an op-ed piece, Global Times expressed its favour for the passage of the bill, saying that this would attract more international business. “Chinese companies are certainly welcoming the move. Along with other restrictions, the country’s complicated and cumbersome taxation system as well s bureaucracy related to tax-collection remains a hurdle for Chinese firms doing business in India,” it said.

However, it also remarked at the time it may face difficulty in making the bill into a law, including getting approval from all 29 states. But it ended on a positive note, saying, “China will be happy to see the reforms go through as it sees this improved investment environment as an opportunity rather than a threat and will be willing to work with India to make it a reality.”

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Echoing a similar sentiment, the New York Times reported that the passage of the bill will attract greater foreign investment. It also said how important the passage was for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “[GST is] a significant victory for Mr. Modi. Elected in 2014 with a promise of bold economic transformation, he had been unable to marshal parliamentary support to pursue several of his central initiatives, such as overhauling land and labor laws,” it said.

Giving an overview of how it will affect India, the BBC reported that the GST is ‘far from perfect’ and will come with its own baggage. “GST, by itself, is no magic pill. India’s debt-saddled state-owned banks need to clean up their books and ease lending. The government should move swiftly and imaginatively on creating jobs, boost agriculture and ensure social stability for long-term and inclusive growth,” it said.

TIME, while focusing on the hows and whats of the GST, also focused on how it could go down as one of the most important victories of the Narendra Modi government, especially because, the piece writes, “the optimistic campaigner we saw during the 2014 elections was replaced in office by a cautious tinkerer who seemed unwilling or unable to make significant changes to India’s economic architecture.”

Quartz also focused on it being an achievement of the Modi government and reflected on how it is important for him, harking back to his election campaign in 2014. “The passage of the bill will also boost to the reform agenda of the Modi government, which has struggled to bring about an extensive overhauling of the economy as he had promised before the election,” it said.