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Indian parliament passes landmark tax reform bill

Staff Writer | August 6, 2016
India's upper house of parliament passed a landmark tax reform bill that will pave the way for the introduction of a new national sales tax, creating a common market across the country for the first time.
Narendra Modi
India   A common market across the country
After hours of debate, lawmakers unanimously voted in favour of introducing the long-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government reached a consensus with the Congress party and other opposition party members.

The GST will replace a patchwork of central and state levies on goods and services and is one of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party government's biggest reforms since taking power in May 2014.

Modi described the bill's passage as a "truly historic occasion" and thanked members of all parties for their support.

"We will continue to work with all parties & states to introduce a system that benefits all Indians & promotes a vibrant & unified national market," Modi tweeted after the bill received the thumbs up.

The battle to introduce the economy-boosting GST has been one of the fiercest of Modi's premiership, with Congress repeatedly blocking the bill for more than a year, before finally agreeing to several amendments.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hailed it as a "great day for Indian democracy and federalism" once the bill had passed.


 

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