The Centre is going to launch India's biggest unified tax reform, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1, 2017. As it took 17 long years to implement this tax system in the country, lets take a look at the contribution of finance ministers who strived towards achieving this goal.
Yashwant Sinha, former Finance Minister from March 1998 – July 2002 under then Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee, is widely credited to accelerate the graph of Indian economy with several major reforms. He struggled to have uniform floor rates for sales tax of various commodities with effect from January 1, 2000.
Jaswant Singh who switched posts with Yahwant Sinha became finance minister in 2002 and served until the downfall of Vajpayee government in May 2004. First report on a design for the GST was published during his regime — which suggested a single low rate: 7% for states and 5% for the Centre, and which detailed a plan for a grand bargain with states to get the proposed new taxation structure off the ground.
After NDA's downfall in 2004 P Chidambaram who became the Minister of Finance for UPA government pitched in the proposal for GST. By 2009, the first discussion paper on GST was unveiled by the Finance Ministry.
In 2011, then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee introduced GST bill in Lok Sabha.
When Modi government came into power, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley introduced Constitution Amendment Bill for GST, which was later approved in the Lok Sabha in 2015.