Since the independence of India the Goods and Service Tax (GST) is the biggest, single economic reform that been introduced. Is it because it is a game changer reform that the government chose to enforce it at midnight? At the stroke of the midnight hour India struck a new tryst with the people of India. The president Pranab Mukherjee and the Prime Minister together launched the GST and now the current tax will be replaced by the new tax. The Vice President Hamid Ansari, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Deve Gowda were seated on the high table. It was launched amidst jubilation and lights in the presence of many cabinet ministers in the Central Hall of the Parliament. “It is not a success of any party or any government. It is the result of everyone’s effort. The scope of the GST is unlimited to financial system. Now, India will move in a new direction”, said the Prime Minister. “For India it will begin altogether a new journey. It’s a journey where India will awake to limitless possibilities to expand its economic horizons, and loftier political positions,” Jaitley said. The President, Pranab Mukherjee said that this is the culmination of 14 years of planning that started in December 2002 when he was the finance minister. He said it gave him “personal satisfaction” to be a part of this historical launch and that it was tribute to the “maturity and wisdom of Indian democracy.”
While the Finance Minister announced that India was ready for GST, most of the opposition boycotted saying the country is not prepared for it. “Unnecessary hurry to roll out”, “cannot be a party to such a tamasha” were some of the comments from the leaders who boycotted. Rahul Gandhi called it a “self-promotional spectacle”. Earlier the Finance Minister, Mr. Arun Jaitley had time and again said that the ground work to introduce GST started long before. There was an amendment made in the constitution to bring about these changes. This amendment was done with the consensus of all parties. There had been many levels and rounds of talks with the professionals and also the state representatives. Most decisions were taken with the consensus of all involved. Now the boycott by the Indian National Congress, the Trinamool Congress, and Left seems to be an unnecessary political gimmick.
GST replaces 20 indirect taxes. The Prime Minister said it will be a pro-poor taxation which will give opportunities to the honest. It will bring all the states into one system making the country truly Federal. The Prime Minister congratulated the GST council for all the efforts and planning put to get this done. The Prime Minister likened this change to a change in spectacles. We take a little time to adjust to the new lens and then we become very comfortable with it. In the same way people will take a little while to adjust but will soon become comfortable with this new tax reform. The Prime Minister gave a new meaning to GST, he called it the new “Good and Simple Tax”.