The country witnessed the biggest ever tax reforms in the history with the launch of the Goods and Services Tax, GST at a gala event last midnight. The new tax regime replacing more than a dozen state and central levies came into effect the moment President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressed the launch button in the Central hall of the Parliament. President Pranab Mukherjee in his speech before the launch said it is a momentous occasion for all in the country.
The President said, GST is a tribute to the maturity and wisdom of India’s democracy. He said, the new era in taxation, is the result of a broad consensus arrived at between the Centre and states. The President said, the efforts came from persons across the political spectrum who set aside narrow partisan considerations and put the nation’s interests first. He said, it is also a moment of some satisfaction for him because, as the Finance Minister, he had introduced the Constitution Amendment Bill on 22nd March, 2011. The President called upon every Indian to extend cooperation in the successful implementation of the new system.
Calling GST, as a good and simple tax Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it will end harassment of traders and small businesses while integrating India into one market with one tax rate.
Mr Modi said, the indirect tax reform is a result of combined efforts of various political parties at different points of time.
Prime minister said, GST is an example of cooperative federalism as the centre and states together thrashed out the new law with consensus.
Mr Modi said, besides being a transparent and fair system that will end generation of black money and corruption, the system gives opportunity to honesty and people who do honest business. He called GST as an economic integrator just like the integration of the nation by Sardar Vallabhai Patel after the independence.
Acknowledging that there may be some initial hiccups, the Prime Minister said even an eye takes time to adjust to sight corrective spectacles. He went on to urge people not to pay attention to rumours and not create apprehensions about the new tax.
In his address, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, after the launch of GST, it will be an India where the centre and states will work together towards the common goal of shared prosperity. He said, the old India was economically fragmented and the New India will create One Nation One Tax One Market.
The Finance Minister said, it is a journey where India will awake to limitless possibilities, to expand its economic horizons and loftier political vision. Mr Jaitley said, the GST may be a destination tax, but for India it will begin altogether a new journey. He said, GST Council met 18 times and there was never any need for voting, because of the unanimity. The Finance Minister said, GST shows that India can rise beyond narrow politics.
Vice President Mohd. Hamid Ansari, Former Prime minister H D Deve Gowda, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, BJP Party President Amit Shah and a host of political leaders cutting across party lines and senior ministers and bureaucrats from different states witnessed the formal launch of indirect tax regime. Top Industry leaders, economists and celebrities were also present to witness the launch of landmark GST at the historic Central Hall of Parliament which opened for a midnight ceremony for the first time in two decades.