Modi to give final push for Goods and Services Tax (GST) on Monday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday sought to put all obstacles in the way of GST being introduced by signing a memorandum of understanding with states, to be finalised by March 31.

Mr Modi, in his maiden budget speech in Parliament on Monday, also said that GST will be the keystone of the new government’s economic policies.

Under the GST, goods and services will be taxed at an average of 12.5% on a uniform basis across all categories of transactions, from restaurants to pharmaceuticals, and from agriculture to hotels.

Mr Narendra Modi said the GST will make India a global leader in the delivery of services, particularly in healthcare, education and the arts.

He said the tax will make all of us more prosperous, and will help our economy to grow and grow faster.GST is the cornerstone of a unified and inclusive India.

The Centre will take the necessary measures to ensure uniformity of taxation, Mr Modi said, promising to implement the memorandum of agreement by March.

A day earlier, he had said the government was working on the memorandum.

Mr Jaitley had earlier promised that GST would be implemented by March, but Mr Modi has said the date was to be decided after the states signed agreements to start implementation of GST.

The Finance Ministry will be responsible for coordinating the implementation of the memorandum and is expected to begin work by March and end by March 30.

Under GST, all goods and service will be taxable at the rate of 18% and goods and consumer durables at 14%, Mr Jaitly said, adding that the government is looking at all measures to make sure that the tax rates do not fall.

The GST is the keystones of a united and inclusive nation, he said, and it will bring benefits to every citizen.

GST will enable the economy to accelerate its recovery, improve services and promote the environment, he added.

Mr Kumar said that all stakeholders including farmers, traders, industry and the poor would benefit from the tax, which will reduce tax evasion and will boost the economy.

Mr Naidu said that the GST would benefit the entire country.

He said that it would provide an incentive to make the farmers produce more of their produce, improve the health of the farmers and bring the rural economy back on track.

The new government, led by Mr Jatsy, is expected soon to sign a memorandum on GST.

It is expected that the agreement will be final and the final agreement will take about two years to be signed, Mr Jains said.