While the nation’s political integration was initiated by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) ideological founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee, the Narendra Modi-led government has been able to integrate the nation economically through the goods and services tax
(GST), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
said on Thursday.
Addressing a gathering of BJP
functionaries and workers from the party’s Delhi organisation on Mookerjee’s birth anniversary, Jaitley said that even Jammu and Kashmir had been brought into the common taxation fold.
The J&K Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution to allow the implementation of the GST
in the state. The state finance minister had said constitutional amendments would be put into place to protect the special status of J&K.
Jaitley’s address focused on how economically weaker states such as J&K, Bihar
and West Bengal
had welcomed the prospect of a destination-based tax
to fill up their coffers. “These states are consumption-based, since they generally do not have a large manufacturing base,” he said.
However, the finance minister’s subtle addition that Opposition
parties led by the Congress
had held up discussions over the GST
due to petty politics was drowned by frequent chants of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Har Har Modi’.
The organisers ensured that Jaitley, the chief guest, himself received no less adulation from Delhi-based party leaders and supporters who reminded everyone of his long association with the city.
Jaitley had been elected president of the Delhi University Students’ Union in 1974, running street protests when emergency broke out.
Member of Parliament Meenakshi Lekhi said the GST
had smoothened trade connectivity in the country like never before, adding that it was a simple legislation with far-reaching benefits.
Members belonging to the party’s traders’ wing were quick to seize upon this line, saying the media was unnecessarily complicating the issue.