On August 3rd 2016 at 21.40, the BJP led government passed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) with an absolute majority, in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House). This is despite the expected walkout of Tamil Nadu’s regional party AIADMK, led by former actress and current Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa.
A version of the GST was first introduced in 2011 by the then Congress led government but was blocked by political manoeuvring. With the BJP in office, and the GST being raised again, Congress has been at the helm of opposition.
The Parliamentary passage is the first of many steps that will need to be taken before the Bill can ‘hit the ground’, but it is still seen as testament to political compromise and economic resolution. The Amendments to the Bill will now be passed by the Lok Sabha and subsequently has to be endorsed by at least 50 per cent of state legislatures for it to be signed into law by the President. It is hoped that GST will be ready in all phases by April 1, 2017.