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President Ram Nath Kovind said on Tuesday that the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) was a milestone and the new regime has reduced barriers between states, creating a more formal economy. Inaugurating the 37th India International Trade Fair (IITF) at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, he said the country is recognised as a bright spot of the global economy and the world has acknowledged the change in its business environment. "Introduction of GST has been a milestone and it has broken down barriers between states. It has provided a boost to the creation of a common market and a more formal economy as well as a stronger manufacturing sector," Kovind said. Due to these efforts, he said, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country increased to $60 billion in 2016-17 from $36 billion in 2013-14. ALSO READ: Jaitley rules out single GST rate but hints at further rate cuts The President also said the focus of India's economic reforms and policies is to eliminate poverty and enhance the prosperity of millions of ordinary families. "After all, trade must help common people.
They are the ultimate stakeholders," he added.Listing the government initiatives such as Make in India, Digital India, Start Up India, Skill India and Smart Cities, he said that these steps are an attempt to make economic reforms more meaningful to those at the grassroots. GST, which subsumed more than a dozen central and state levies like excise duty, service tax and VAT, was implemented from July 1. ALSO READ: Stamp duty, property tax may stay out of GST About the IITF, Kovind said as many as 3,000 exhibitors including 222 foreign companies, domestic firms, public sector units and states are participating in the fair. This year, 'Startup India Standup India' is the theme of the fair. The 'Partner Country' is Vietnam and the Focus Country is Kyrgyz Republic. These countries, the President said, are important trade and strategic partners of India.