One Nation, One Tax comes into effect

Raj Kamal Rao

President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally launched the Goods and Service Tax on Friday midnight, paving the way for a new tax regime from July 1.

Calling GST rollout a historic event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India will move ahead to reach new heights in the GST regime.

PM-ModiAddressing the  special midnight session to commemorate the roll-out of the Goods and Services Tax in the central hall of the Parliament, Prime Minister said that GST doesn’t belong to any political party or any government.

“This does not belong to any one political party or one government, it is the collective effort and a legacy of every individual,” the PM said.



Finance Minister Arun Jaitley at the GST rollout event

Initiating the event Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that the process has been a collective effort of officers and successive governments. Jaitley listed the efforts of every individual who helped in making GST implementation possible.

“Old India was economically fragmented. New India will create one tax, one market for one nation,” said the Finance Minister

The event was attended by the President, Vice President and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. BJP President Amit Shah and members of several regional parties were also present. Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda also took part in the event and shared the stage with Prime Minister and President Pranab Mukherjee.

PM-Modi-and-Deve-GowdaEarlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended a dinner meet where he met with Finance Ministers of various states and members of the GST council. He thanked the members of the GST Council.

The all-powerful GST Council reduced the tax rate on fertilisers to 5 per cent from the previously decided 12 per cent.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who heads the GST Council comprising of representatives of states, said the decision to reduce the tax rate on fertilisers was taken because of apprehensions that price of the crop nutrient may go up.

In another move to give relief to farmers, the GST Council also cut tax rate on exclusive parts of tractors from 28 per cent to 18 per cent.

“Some felt it (12 per cent GST rate) may be a burden on consumer. There was a consensus (in the GST Council) to bring rate to 5 per cent,” he told reporters after the 18th meeting of the Council.

The Council meeting was called more as a thanks giving meet with no formal agenda. But it did take up the cause of farmers at the meeting.

The GST Council, since its first meeting on September 23, 2016, has met 18 times and decided on range of issues – from drafts of supporting legislations to GST rules, rates of taxes and fitting over 1200 goods and services in the four-tire structure of 5 per cent, 12 per cent, 18 per cent and 28 per cent.