GST is one of the biggest reforms that India has seen: Anurag Thakur

The passage of the historic Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, that introduces a tax which would subsume a number of indirect central and state levies, is a reflection of political parties working together in national interest, a group of Indian parliamentarians said in US

GST is one of the biggest reforms that India has seen: Anurag Thakur

"GST is one of the biggest tax reforms that India has seen, thanks to the co-operation from all political parties," said BJP MP Anurag Thakur, who is currently on a visit to the US as part of an Indian parliamentarian delegation.

Describing Goods and Services Tax (GST) as a major tax reform, BJD MP from Orissa Baijayant Panda said it shows that various political parties, despite their  serious differences, can come and work together on key national issues.  The GST Bill was pending for long and was finally passed in the 2016 monsoon session by the Lok Sabha, after being given nod by the Rajya Sabha following some amendments. Thus paving the way for its rollout on April 1, 2017.

"Silently, we have worked our way through various reforms," said Congress MP Sushmita Dev during an interaction organised by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a top American think-tank.

The passage of the GST Bill and the Congress supporting other major reforms, she said, does not mean that there will be no differences with the ruling party.

Responding to questions, the three MPs agreed in one voice that India is a tolerant country and there are enough avenues for the people to air their views.

"India as a country has both conservative and contemporary sides to it. Yes, there was a rhetoric... What happened is we actually debated in Parliament. We aired (our views) out. Under no circumstances, can WE say that India is becoming an intolerant country. Nobody is saying that India is intolerant. The debate is what the attitude of this government is towards tolerance," Dev said.

Thakur said that the image of a nation, including that of the US, cannot be based on one big event or incident.

"That does not give the right picture. India has been a tolerant nation. It will be a tolerant nation," he said.

Thakur asked what would happen when someone in the US depict the people behind 9/11 as martyrs.

"Nation should be a priority," he said and rued about the nature of coverage of some unfortunate incidents by the media.

The three MPs refrained from commenting in their views on the American presidential elections. But were confident that Indo-US ties would move ahead at the same pace as it has in the last decade and a half.