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India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has described the passage of legislation to introduce a goods and services tax (GST) as a "great step" for India.
In an address before the lower house of Parliament, he welcomed the endorsement of the GST Bill by the Upper House, concluding more than 10 years of delays to the introduction of the tax.
He described the imminent passage of the Bill as a victory not for any political party, but for Indian democracy.
With GST, we intend to bring uniformity in taxation, said Modi, adding that the consumer would be supreme in the new dispensation. Modi said GST would also help bring in real-time data.
He said most of the things that can impact consumer inflation have been kept out of the ambit of GST and said that GST will help reduce corruption in collection, as well as the cost of collection.
He said that small businesses will also gain tremendously from GST.
GST may now expected to be rolled out on April 1 next year. However, the Bill still needs to be ratified by 50 percent of Indian states.
Under the GST proposals, the various elements of the existing indirect tax regime will be replaced by a comprehensive dual-GST system, with Central GST and State GST to be levied concurrently by the center (federal Government) and the states, respectively. A government panel has suggested a rate of 17-18 percent for the tax.
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