Published On: Sun, Jun 24th, 2018

GST symbol of cooperative federalism, says Prime Minister Modi

New Delhi: Hailing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as “probably the worlds biggest tax reform”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said its implementation was a celebration of honesty and a symbol of cooperative federalism.

Saluting the 15th century saint Kabir, Modi said hia thoughts and ideals emphasised social harmony

With the rolling out of GST about a year ago, the ‘One Nation, One Tax’ dream of the people of this country had become a reality, he said.

The GST was rolled out at a special ceremony held at Parliament House on the intervening night of June 30-July 1, 2017 amid reservations by some opposition parties.

“GST is probably the biggest tax reform in the world. It is not only the victory of integrity but also a celebration of honesty,” Modi said in his monthly radio address ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

“GST is a great example of cooperative federalism, where all states decided to take an unanimous decision in the interest of the nation, and then such a huge tax reform could be implemented,” he added.

The GST Council has already held 27 meetings so far, involving representatives of different states and having different priorities. But in spite of all this, all the decisions taken have been of absolute consensus, said Modi.

The Prime Minister pointed out that before the rolling out of GST, there were 17 different types of taxes in the country, but now only one tax (having various slabs) was applicable in the entire country.

He said that under the GST regime, Information Technology had replaced ‘Inspector Raj’ as everything from return-to-refund was being done online with little manual interference.

“It is generally believed that such a big tax reform, in a huge country like ours with such a large population, takes five to seven years for effective adoption.

“However, within a year the enthusiasm of the honest people of this nation has resulted in this new tax system achieving stability,” Modi said.

He said the implementation of GST has made movements of goods across the states faster and convenient by doing away with the checkposts.

“The successful implementation of such a huge tax reform in India was possible only because the citizens adopted it and the masses fuelled it. This is a huge success in itself which 125 crore Indians have earned for themselves,” he said.

The Prime Minister in his address invoked Sant Kabir and Guru Nanak Dev to emphasise the message of social harmony and integrity they preached.

Pointing out that 2019 would mark the 550th Prakash Parv (birth anniversary) of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, Modi urged his followers to think about ways in which this historic occasion should be celebrated.

“Guru Nanak Dev wanted to end caste discrimination in society and to embrace entire mankind as one. He used to say that to serve the poor and the needy was to serve God.

“He started several initiatives for the welfare of the people such as the community kitchen or ‘langar’ where any person of any religion, caste or creed could come and eat with others,” Modi said.

Saluting the 15th century saint Kabir, Modi said hia thoughts and ideals emphasised social harmony.

He said Kabir tried to break social taboos like in his choosing of Maghar, a small town in now eastern Uttar Pradesh, as the place to die, instead of Kashi (Varanasi).

It was believed that one who died in Maghar would not go to heaven but if one breathed his last in Kashi, he would surely reach heaven. Kabir tried to end this practice by deliberately choosing Maghar as his final resting place, Modi said.

“In his compositions, Kabir stressed on social equality, peace and brotherhood. These were his ideals and we see them in his compositions. He is as inspiring today as he was then,” Modi said, adding that the mystic poet of the Bhakti Movement preached social harmony.

“Jaati na poocho sadhu ki, pooch lijiye gyan (Don’t ask a preacher his social standing, instead get the knowledge/wisdom he has),” Modi quoted Kabir as saying.

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