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Jaitley: Consensus is the secret behind GST’s success

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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said that the main reason for the government’s success in the implementation of the Goods & Services Tax (GST) regime was the fact that all decisions were taken through consensus and nothing was put to vote. Speaking at the BusinessLine Changemaker Awards, the Finance Minister also said that over the next decade, the government’s priority should include investment in rural India, defence, health & education and infrastructure. On getting all States on board on the GST regime, Jaitley said that there was complete unanimity that everything should be by consensus and nothing should be voted upon.

“Sometimes States yielded. Sometimes I did,” the Minister said in conversation with a Business Newspaper. He said GST was a reform long overdue and was recommended 18-19 years ago. The manifesto of every major political party used to have it. The major complication that used to come up was because of States being majorly aware of their constitutional rights, he said. “States had to be convinced that their revenues will not go down but increase. All taxes will be merged. I told them we are pooling in our fiscal autonomies in a common body,” he said. The FM said that in the last five years, both income tax and GST had not increased and were actually brought down. At the same time, the tax base had increased, proving that the lower the taxes, higher the compliance. “The wealth earned from market has to be invested in social infrastructure and the underprivileged to increase their quality of life,” he said, adding that the government’s Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme was a textbook kind of example for this.

 

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