GST: Modi launches 'Good and Simpler Tax' in historic ceremony

01 Jul 2017 | By Abheet Sethi

At midnight on July 1, PM Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee pressed a ceremonial button to herald the Goods and Services Tax, shifting India towards a 'One Nation, One Tax' regime.

The ceremony took place during a historic midnight sitting of the Central Hall of Parliament.

PM Modi described GST as a "Good and Simpler Tax," calling the sweeping reform a collective effort.

In context: GST: India's biggest tax reform rolled out

ExplainedWhat is the Goods and Services Tax?

The GST is a uniform tax rate that unifies 16 different central and state taxes, including excise, VAT and service tax.

The GST is expected to usher increased tax compliance and transparency to increase government revenue, which could help boost infrastructure spending.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley earlier said it could raise India's GDP by 2 percentage points.

It establishes a fixed four-rate tax structure.

01 Jul 2017GST: Modi launches 'Good and Simpler Tax' in historic ceremony

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Modi acknowledges previous governments' role for GST

Collective effort Modi acknowledges previous governments' role for GST

"At this midnight hour, we are together going to decide the country's march forward," said Modi.

He added: "This is our collective legacy, the outcome of our collective efforts. I congratulate all previous governments for their contribution, and for making GST possible."

Modi suggested the GST will help fight black money, saying: "Kuchha bill, pucca bill game will be over. The poor will benefit."

President's speechPresident Mukherjee: GST represents "great maturity of Indian democracy"

"This historic moment is the culmination of a 14-year journey which began in December 2002," President Mukherjee said.

He said the GST rollout is a "moment of great satisfaction for him personally."

"As a finance minister, I introduced constitutional amendment in Parliament," he added

He described the GST as the result of a wider consensus between the Centre and states.

DetailsWho all attended the ceremony?

At the GST ceremony in Parliament, President Mukherjee, VP Hamid Ansari, PM Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and former PM HD Deve Gowda were on the dais.

The ceremony was boycotted by several opposition parties, including the Congress, CPM, RJD, DMK and TMC.

The NCP, SP and JD(S) were three opposition parties represented at the event.

Opposition reacts

Congress VP Rahul Gandhi tweeted: "A reform that holds great potential is being rushed through in a half-baked way with a self-promotional spectacle #GSTTamasha." CPM's Sitaram Yechury said: "No false celebrations and PR tamashas will distract from the economic disaster this BJP government has been."