GST: 70 years later, India to have another midnight tryst with destiny
New Delhi: The government is readying a big do to roll out the goods and services tax (GST), the marquee indirect tax reform, on 1 July.
Like it happened with Independence, GST will be made official at midnight on 30 June. Effectively the country will wake up on 1 July to a new indirect tax regime: GST.
Ahead of it, the Union government has convened a meeting of the GST Council, the apex decision making authority, which will ensure the presence of 32 finance ministers of the country’s states and Union territories. The meeting is scheduled to begin from 7pm.
At the same time, it is inviting President Pranab Mukherjee as well as all the past prime ministers and finance ministers to be present at midnight.
“Looks like it is going to happen in a very large scale. It will happen from the central hall of Parliament. The Prime Minister, the President, former Prime Ministers, all chief ministers, all finance (ministers) GSTN Council. It has been done in a very high profile manner and legitimately so,” Haseeb Drabu, finance minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said.
Drabu was speaking to Mint as part of the special Facebook live series being hosted by it in the run-up to the roll out of GST.
GST is billed as India’s biggest piece of indirect tax reform. Not only will it economically unify the country, it will also put in place greater efficiencies making the country more competitive.
And as Drabu points out it will also reset the country’s federal polity, which has been traditionally defined on a top down approach. “It is a pooling of sovereignty. Most importantly, the whole thing is not Delhi-centric and that it symbolizes the effort of 30 states and union government,” he said.
“GST is an important step to integrate India. It is an economic marker which shows India’s rise in federal policy. Important gesture (for the government) to bring people on-board. It is a key achievement of the Narendra Modi government. Though the process was started earlier, he found a way to build consensus and bring it (GST legislation) together,” said Manisha Priyam, a New Delhi-based political analyst.