The Goods and Services Tax came into force at midnight, amid a historic midnight session in the Central Hall of Parliament. President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addressed the gathering, before the President and the Prime Minister pressed a button to mark the launch of GST.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said that the day marks a decisive turning point, in determining the future course of the country.
He recalled that the Central Hall had been witness to several historic occasions in the past as well, including the first session of the Constituent Assembly, India’s independence, and the adoption of the Constitution. He described GST is an example of Cooperative Federalism.
He quoted Chanakya to say that hard work can overcome all obstacles and help us accomplish even the most difficult of objectives. He said that just as Sardar Patel had ensured political integration of the country, GST would ensure economic integration. Recalling the famous scientist Albert Einstein who said that income tax is the most difficult thing to understand in the world, he said that GST would ensure one nation, one tax. He said that GST would lead to immense savings of time and cost. Savings of fuel due to elimination of delays at State border crossings will help the environment as well, he added. The Prime Minister said GST would lead to a modern tax administration which is simpler, more transparent, and helps curb corruption.
He described GST as a “Good and Simple Tax” which would ultimately benefit the people. The Prime Minister also quoted a shloka from the Rig Veda to describe the spirit of common goal, common determination, leading to mutual and shared benefit for the society.