India Finally Rolls Out GST After 17 Years of Struggle: Why there are Mixed Reactions?

The Bill was Passed in the Midnight at the Parliament House on 1st July

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GST. Wikimedia
  • Modi pointed out number of chapters in the Bhagavad Gita were same as number of times the GST council had met ie 18
  • The President said that during his term even Modi had some issues about the bill but then praised Modi of having a constructive approach towards GST
  • Arun Jaitley complemented the quality and maturity with which the political stakeholders made the GST launch a success

July 1, 2017: After 17 years of limitless struggle, finally on July 1, 2017, GST (Goods and Services Tax) became a reality in India and the country is having mixed reactions about it. While some segment of the population is happy about it, some think it would give rise to inflation and other simply don’t understand the GST bill.

The Bill is launched from the Parliament House where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the person who made this into a reality. He translated this historic tax reform as ‘Goods and Simple Tax’.

During the enactment speech, Modi also pointed out two similarities in the Indian history and GST bill. One was that the number of chapters in the Bhagavad Gita were same as the number of times the GST council had met i.e. 18. Secondly, one was the number of taxes before GST and number of self-governed provinces in India before they were brought under one government by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

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PM Modi said GST was not only a tax reform but a social reform too, and added, “Just like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel united over 500 provinces into one India, there were 500 different types of taxes spread across 29 states and seven Union Territories that we are bringing into one tax regime…. The best brains in the country have been working to make GST a reality and today it has become an exemplar of cooperative federalism in the country.”

Another notable thing about the GST launch was the attendees of the event. The SP (Samajwadi Party) and the BSP (Bahujan Samajwadi Party) didn’t have any take on attending the session but finally, they changed their minds and Ram Gopal Yadav from SP and Veer Singh with Raja Ram from BSP also attended the launch.

The only corporate leader was Ratan Tata and from the Bollywood industry, actor Amitabh Bachchan and Lata Mangeshkar were also invited.

Modi’s speech followed the speech of Pranab Mukherjee who said, “It is also a momentous occasion for me personally. I had introduced the Constitutional Amendment Bill in 2009 as the Finance Minister.”

He also added that during his term even Modi had some issues about the GST in a subtle way but then praised Modi of having a constructive approach towards GST.

After the President, Arun Jaitley was the third speaker who complimented the quality and maturity with which the political stakeholders made the GST launch a success. He also added that “this is a high point in Indian Politics.”

While the Opposition parties, including the Congress, didn’t attend the launch. They criticized that the bill was passed in a hurry and called it a blunder.

The government claimed that the reform will successfully create a national market, enhance the ease of doing business and improve tax compliance. Now after the successful launch of the event, the next most important thing would be towards the implementation of India’s biggest tax reform.

– by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi