The nationwide one-tax system implemented from Saturday may change the lives of Indians as never before. The goods and services tax (GST) may come as a relief for consumers overburdened with hidden taxes and force businesspeople and traders to do their jobs honestly and efficiently.
While the nation was largely united in ushering in the new tax regime, the opposition played politics by boycotting Parliament’s midnight session. But this big step in nation-building was a shared accomplishment by state governments representing various parties and will put states on an even keel.
Lawmakers in Jammu and Kashmir, however, also played politics by blocking the legislation to roll out the GST. This will adversely affect consumers in that state.
Rumblings of discontent have already started against the GST elsewhere, with cinemas going on strike in Tamil Nadu.
The GST may be a good and simple tax, but how is it going to impact businesses? Will they still find ways to shift the tax burden to customers? Is the GST going to be another gamble for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government after demonetization?