‘One Nation One Tax’ was launched at midnight on July 1, after 17 years of considerations, in the Parliament, much like the Declaration of Independence of India from foreign rule. The parallel was drawn by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself along with several others as addressed in his speech. The Goods and Service Tax is the largest tax reform in the history of India and Prime Minister Modi dubbed the GST as ‘Good and Simple Tax’.

Modi addressed Central Hall packed with addressing ministers, opposition leaders, bureaucrats, and businessmen, much like Jawaharlal Nehru addressed India as an independent nation and accepted the Constitution of India. Modi drew another parallel between the GST and Hindu sacred scripture. He told the gathered people how the number of chapters in the Bhagwad Gita and the number of times the GST council was the same-18. He also mentioned another parallel, telling the people that the number of provinces Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel united into one India was 500, same as the number of different types of taxes spread across India’s 29 states and 7 union territories. He said that the best brains in the country had worked their hardest to make GST a reality and it was an example of a cooperative federalism in India. He called GST, not just an economic reform but also a social reform.

The table in front of Modi was occupied by BJP President Amit Shah, senior BJP leader L. K. Advani and NCP chief Sharad Pawar. The Samajwadi Party and BSP were reluctant to attend the event and had not made their position on attending the session clear. Nevertheless, both appear to have changed their minds at the last moment. The Samajwadi Party marked their presence in the session with Ram Gopal Yadav’s presence and BSP sent two of their Rajya Sabha MPs Veer Singh and Raja Ram. Present at the special occasion was actor Amitabh Bachchan and singer LataMangeshkar. Ratan Tata was the sole corporate leader to have been invited to the introduction of the new tax.

 

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