Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that the roll-out of the Goods and Services (GST) tax from July 1 will be “historic” and the world will witness how political parties of different ideological hues came together to usher in this major reform. He also strongly favoured making the country self-reliant in defence and technology sectors. Addressing a gathering at the APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University (AKTU) here after inaugurating its new building, Modi said, “The roll out of the GST from July 1 will be historic. It will set an example for the world.” The prime minister said he was grateful to all those who had contributed towards the formation of a consensus over the tax reform. I am grateful to all the vidhan sabhas, Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and political parties, Modi said. “The world will witness a transformation (in India) and how all the political parties subscribing to different ideologies united for the implementation of the GST,” he said.
The biggest tax reform since Independence, GST will re- shape India’s business landscape by making the country an easier place to do business in and would bring down barriers between states. It is all set to be launched at a grand function in the Central Hall of Parliament on the midnight of June 30. GST over the medium to long term is expected to lead to higher revenues for the Centre and the states while also increasing the size of the economy and having a positive impact on the GDP. It would unify the $2 trillion Indian economy and 1.3 billion people into a single market.
In his speech here, Modi also strongly favoured making the country self-reliant in defence sector. “We are moving forward with the dream of how to make India self-dependent in the field of defence and security,” he said. Presently India imports upto 65 percent of its defence requirements, it is estimated. Can we not make India self-reliant in defence sector?, the prime minister asked here. “We are marching ahead with this dream and for this we have made policy changes and allowed 100 per cent FDI in defence sector,” Modi said. His impassioned plea to make the country self-reliant in defence sector came against the backdrop of the government recently finalising a policy under which private sector companies will be roped-in to manufacture hi-tech defence equipment like submarines and fighter jets in India in partnership with foreign entities.
Modi also lauded the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) saying that “the world took notice when India launched 104 satellites. We have such potential and have to take it forward.” He said that India “reached Mars in a budget less than that of a Bollywood movie due to the technological advancement. Our expense to reach Mars was Rs 7 per kilometer.” Lauding scientists, Modi called them “modern rishis”. “Scientists are facing a challenge to produce cheap but effective drugs for the poor and needy. They are devoted to the objective of ridding the humanity of pain. Science is universal, but technology is local. We have to defeat diseases with science,” he said.
Speaking here, Modi also appreciated the efforts of UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in taking the state forward. “Everyone is watching the developments in UP. They are curious about what is happening here. The Yogi government has intitiated steps to check the diseases and various hindrances prevalent in UP for years. I congratulate Yogi and his team for this,” he said. Earlier Modi also visited the premier CSIR-Central Drugs Research Institute (CDRI) here and evinced a keen interest in the research work conducted by the state-run institute. Soon after arriving here on a two-day visit, the prime minister flew in a chopper from the Amausi airport to the CDRI complex. During his 40-minute stay at the institute, he took a round of the two laboratories.
The prime minister even used a microscope to follow the experiments and also had a brief interaction with senior scientists. CDRI officials briefed him about certain new drugs being developed by the institute for treatment of diseases like osteoporosis and malaria. Modi as prime minister is the president of CSIR and this was his first visit to one of its labs. He also planted a sapling of a medicinal plant in the CDRI premises, flanked by Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. On the first day of his visit to Lucknow, Modi also distributed sanction letters for houses under the Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana and inaugurated a 400 KV power line. Hours before he landed in the state capital, UP police detained 22 persons were detained over apprehensions that there may be an attempt to block his convoy or create some other kind of disturbance. “We have detained 22 persons apprehending that they might breach security during today’s VVIP visit,” Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Deepak Kumar said.Those detained included some youth leaders belonging to the Samajwadi Party.