India witnessed its biggest tax reform since independence. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee along with other cabinet colleagues and major company executives launched the Goods and Service Tax (GST) on June 30 midnight in Parliament’s Central Hall.
GST will replace more than a dozen central and state taxes such as excise duty, service tax, VAT into a ‘one nation, one tax’ regime.
Here are the key highlights of the event:
1. President Pranab Mukherjee, who piloted the first constitutional amendment for unifying more than a dozen central and state taxes, shared a specially erected dais in the circular hall with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vice-President Hamid Ansari.
2. Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda too were on the dais with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
3. Governor Urjit Patel, Member of Parliament cum cine star Hema Malini and Shatrughan Sinha hogged much limelight.
4. Subramanian Swamy, a bitter critic of GST-Network – the IT backbone provider for the new indirect tax regime was also present at the launch.
5. Hours before the launch, the powerful GST Council reduced the tax rate on fertilizer to 5 % from previously decided 12 %.
6. Congress and some opposition parties such as Trinamool Congress and DMK decided to boycott the function, calling it a ‘propaganda event.
7. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was invited too, but he did not attend the launch because his party boycotted it.
8. The pressing of buttons at midnight launched the GST and a two-minute and a video showcasing India’s diverse culture and tradition.
9. Welcoming the gathering, FM Arun Jaitley begins and said that we have assembled for an important movement in the journey of our great nation.
10. FM Arun Jaitley: GST is a journey will India will awake to endless possibilities. The old India was economically fragmented. The new India will have one tax, one market. It will be an India where the Centre and the states work together towards the common goal of shared prosperity.
11. FM Arun Jaitley: We ensured that there was no unnecessary burden on the weaker sections.
12. PM Modi: At midnight, we have all come together to secure the future of our country.
13. PM Modi: The best brains of the country worked on making GST possible.
14. PM Modi: GST is transparent and fair system that prevents black money and corruption and promotes a new governance culture. GST is reality is ‘Good and Simple Tax’.
15. PM Modi: GST is transparent and fair system that prevents black money and corruption and promotes a new governance culture.
16. President Pranab Mukherjee, the last speaker before the launch, said the GST will create a strong incentive for buyers to deal with honest and compliant sellers who pay their dues promptly.
17. President Pranab Mukherjee: Introduction of GST is a momentous event for the nation.