GST a disruptive change, tribute to India's democracy: Prez

At the launch, both Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged that the idea for GST had begun several years ago and was formulated during the Congress-led UPA-I and UPA-II regimes.

The finance minister said GST will strengthen economic structure and help formal economy to grow.

Opposition parties like All India Trinamool Congress (TMC), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Congress to the Left, were continuously trying to disassociate themselves from the implementation of GST and have put forward some suggestions to validate their move.

Here's a look into what went on inside the session.

GST is a Good and Simple Tax, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said shortly before launching the Goods and Services Tax.

A Google search gives a figure in excess of 150 countries, which have adopted Goods and Services Tax or simply the GST, what India introduced at the stroke of midnight today.

Those opposed to the GST demanded some amendments to enjoy some benefits.

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Talking about the GST rollout, Minister of State for Finance Santosh Gangwar said it is a big economic reform for the country.

The Prime Minister said with this landmark tax reform measure, the dream of "one nation, one tax" will be achieved.

Ratan Tata, patriarch of India's largest business group, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan and the country's most famous singer Lata Mangeshkar will attend the ceremony. He said the GST had replaced 17 different types of taxes on goods and services. Luxury items including motorcycles, perfume and shampoo, which account for about 19 per cent of all taxable items, will be taxed at 18 per cent or higher.

Businesses, however, are not yet ready with their pricing policies post GST implementation and there could be lapses on the profiteering issue.

"Though we have missed the (July 1) deadline, we will wish to take everybody along before taking any decision", Public Works Minister Naeem Akhtar said. GST is expected to improve ease of doing business in India.

"There will be disruption", said Rajeev Chandrasekhar, an investor and upper house lawmaker who is part of PM Modi's ruling coalition and sat on a parliamentary committee on GST.

District BJP leaders welcomed the Goods and Services Tax on the very first day of its coming into effect. It has been heralded by economists and will count as the most important structural economic reform of Prime Minister Modi's three-year-old administration.

  • Megan Austin