July 2018
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GST rides on federalism: Narendra Modi
(New Delhi, June 24, 2018):A week after the BJP broke off its alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party in Kashmir and faced a group of Chief Ministers from Opposition parties standing in solidarity against the Centre along with the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of the first anniversary of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime as a credit to cooperative federalism. He was delivering his monthly radio broadcast, “Mann ki Baat”, on Sunday.

“If I have to give credit to anyone for the successful implementation of the ‘One Nation, One Tax’ reform, then I credit the States of our nation. The GST is a great example of cooperative federalism, where all States decide to take a unanimous decision in the interest of the nation and then such a huge tax reform could be implemented in the country,” he said.

Terming the GST a “honest tax”, he said various State governments run by parties of differing ideologies had managed to find common ground. “GST is not only the victory of integrity but it is also a celebration of honesty. Earlier, in the case of taxation and allied affairs in the country, there were rampant complaints of inspector raj. In the GST scheme, information technology has replaced the inspector,” he said.

Prime Minister Modi praised Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee, whose death anniversary marked as “Balidan Diwas” (day of sacrifice) by the BJP, fell on Saturday. Mookerjee died while incarcerated over protests on the separate status for Kashmir, and one of the main reasons the BJP had held on to the demand of abolition of Article 370 of the Constitution. While Prime Minister Modi did not refer to this aspect of Mookerjee’s political struggle, he spoke at length about the latter’s stamp on India’s first industrial policy, and, significantly, his role in “saving” Bengal.

“He was very passionate about the development of West Bengal. It was the result of his understanding, prudence and activism that a part of Bengal could be saved and it is still a part of India,” Mr. Modi said.

“For Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee, the most important thing was the integrity and the unity of India and for this, at the young age of 52, he also sacrificed his life.”

Remarking that 2019 would mark the century of the Jallianwala Bagh incident, Mr. Modi said that “violence and cruelty can never solve a problem and it is peace and non-violence which always wins”.

Mr. Modi said he would visit Maghar in Basti district of Uttar Pradesh to mark the spot where the Bhakti-era poet and saint Kabirdas took samadhi 500 years ago. Having been born near Kashi, he said, Kabirdas chose to die in Maghar which was considered inauspicious for afterlife. “All his life, he fought against superstition and casteism,” he said.

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