Sardar Patel integrated India territorially, GST will integrate nation economically: PM Modi

India's Parliament held a special midnight session Friday to introduce a new single nationwide tax, replacing a complicated mix of state and federal taxes that will change the cost of almost everything people buy. But the prime minister, who has put huge efforts into the economy as he targets re-election in 2019, acknowledged that it would have teething problems.

"I was closely involved in the formulation of the GST and I was confident that GST was just a matter of time and it would be passed eventually", said Pranab Mukherjee.

President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi jointly launched the new indirect tax regime Goods and Services Tax (GST), ushering a new era of "One Nation-One Tax" in the Indian economy.

While addressing the Parliamentarians in the special midnight session of pre-GST launch, PM Modi said that it is the moment where the future course of this country will be decided.

The government will introduce GST for a variety of goods and services along four main rate bands: 5-, 12-, 18- and 28 percent irrespective of the location of purchase.

The former finance minister said that the GST would lead to inflation and asked, "What is the government going to do about it?" The fact that traders and consumers remained uncertain about its impact was visible in major markets in Lucknow and in other towns as business was reported to be very low on Saturday, the first day under GST.

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The sweeping reforms comes less than a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi withdrew India's largest banknotes in a sudden move created to outmanoeuvre tax cheats.

The Kashmiri Traders and Manufactures Association sat on protest against the one nation one tax policy under GST demanding a separate GST tax for Jammu and Kashmir.

All states and the central government discussed it for years, he added.

Another concern is that many entrepreneurs participating in India's $2 trillion (1.75 trillion euros) economy aren't computer literate and rely exclusively on handwritten ledgers.

The opposition National Conference and traders have expressed concern over the extending Constitutional Amendment 101, or the GST Act, to Jammu and Kashmir. "We have come together tonight at the central hall of parliament", Modi said. Today we are getting rid of them. After Prez speech, President and Narendra Modi pressed the button to officially announce GST rolling.

Although telephone bill will be charged GST at the rate of 18%, which will increase the liability of the person, as the current service tax rate is applicable at the rate of 15%.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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