NEW DELHI: GST (Goods and Services Tax), India's most ambitious tax reform since independence was launched by the Narendra Modi Government at the stroke of midnight of Friday and Saturday. The GST launch took place amid much fanfare at the central hall of Parliament which was decked up with flowers and lights to celebrate the momentous occasion.
PM Modi, who's well known for his gift of the gab, smartly expanded GST as 'good and simple tax' while delivering his speech, which was received by a thundering applause by the attendees thumping the table, a common ritual at the Parliament for expressing joy or praise.
"GST is a good and simple tax regime that will eliminate the compounding effects of multi-layered tax system," PM Modi said.
The prime minister said that the fruition of GST is not one government or one party's doing but has been a collective effort. "The road we have chosen, this is not just one party's doing, this is not just one government's work. This is a joint effort," he said.
There may be initial hiccups and teething troubles, he said, as the transition to GST takes place, as is the case with anything that's new. He gave the analogy of how sight corrective spectacles with updated new power is initially uncomfortable and takes a few days to settle in.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who delivered his speech before the prime minister said GST would be one of the biggest economic reforms in India's history. "It will create one tax, one market for one nation. It will be an India which will write a new destiny," Jaitley said.
The GST Council which has so far met 18 times has always had a consensus on the decisions takes, and no voting was ever required to pass a resolution, Jaitley said.
President Pranab Mukherjee during his address which followed PM Modi's, congratulated the Council for this feat. "It is remarkable that all decisions have been taken by consensus in the Council. I congratulate them," he said.