1. GST Bill: PM Modi’s only ‘sweeping reform’ in 2 years, responds international media

GST Bill: PM Modi’s only ‘sweeping reform’ in 2 years, responds international media

International media hails GST Bill approval by Rajya Sabha as the most significant economic reform effected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: August 5, 2016 7:14 PM

The unanimous approval of the Rajya Sabha for the passage of Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill not only excited general public and business community in India, it was also hailed by international media, with many of them calling it the most significant economic reform effected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Economist noted that rarely politicians “trumpet” the introduction of any new tax, but GST is an exception. “Given how few voters enjoy paying them, politicians rarely trumpet the advent of new taxes. But the passage of a new goods-and-services tax (GST) in India’s upper house on August 3rd is a deserved exception,” it said.

The magazine noted that GST is PM Modi’s most important reform since he came to power. “The government of Narendra Modi, never averse to over-hyping what turn out to be modest policy tweaks, has enacted its most important reform to date.” In a report, the New York Times highlighted how India is marred by an “array of state-by-state tax codes that discourage doing business across state borders.” GST, it said, will ” forge a single economic zone from its thicket of overlapping federal and state taxes, the most important economic measure since India opened its markets in 1991.” The NYT also noted that GST approval is a “significant victory for Mr. Modi”

Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Raymond Zhong called GST approval “an important step in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign to modernize Asia’s No. 3 economy.” “Shifting to a GST would help ease the burdens of double taxation and other distortions caused by the current system,” he wrote. In another article, the WSJ said GST would bring India in line with the rest of the world. “Today, around 160 countries have one (tax).” However, “the U.S.—in this as in other domains—is the big exception.”

The Time noted the passage of GST Bill was a big win for Modi, who has been previously accused of not doing much to reform the Indian Economy. “The successful passage of the so-called Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill is a big win for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been criticised for not doing enough to reform India’s economy since he came to power in 2014.”

The Washington Post termed GST as India’s “most sweeping reforms in a generation.” Reporting for The Washington Post, Max Bearak argued the term “united states” aptly describes India because of its diversity. Bearak said GST could be the “next step in the unification” of the country. “The law (GST) represents the biggest reform to India’s economy since it was massively deregulated in 1991, leading the country away from decades of socialist policies. It is also the next step in the unification, for better or worse, of the Indian state,” he said. The report also noted that GST is the only sweeping reform Modi’s government has managed to pass in  two years.

The Guardian said, “The goods and services bill, which could come into force by next April, will close tax loopholes and tax more types of businesses, which were previously left unregulated by the old legislation.”

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