US President Donald Trump today praised the Modi government’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) initiative, saying the largest tax overhaul in India’s history will create “great new opportunities” for the Indian people. “In just two weeks, you will begin to implement the largest tax overhaul in your country’s history — we’re doing that also, by the way — creating great new opportunities for your citizens,” Trump said in his joint press statement at the White House here after holding talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “You have a big vision for improving infrastructure, and you are fighting government corruption, which is always a grave threat to democracy,” he said.
Trump heaped praise on Modi for introducing reforms and making accomplishments in the economic sphere. “I am thrilled to salute you, Prime Minister Modi, and the Indian people for all that you are accomplishing together. Your accomplishments have been vast,” Trump said. “India has the fastest growing economy in the world. We hope we’re going to be catching you very soon in terms of percentage increase, I have to tell you that. We’re working on it,” he said. Trump said together, the US and India, can help chart an optimistic path into the future, one that unleashes the power of new technology, new infrastructure, and the enthusiasm and excitement of very hardworking and very dynamic people.
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Touted as the biggest taxation reform since Independence, GST will unify 16 different taxes including excise, service tax and VAT, and transform India into a single market for seamless movement of goods and services. The powerful GST Council, comprising Centre and states, has recommended a four-tier tax structure — 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent. On top of the highest slab, a cess will be imposed on luxury and demerit goods to compensate the states for revenue loss in the first five years of GST implementation. GST rates would depend upon whether the commodity is used by a rich person or a common man. State and Union Territory GST laws were passed by all the states and Union Territories of India except Jammu & Kashmir, paving the way for smooth roll out of the tax from July 1.