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GST: The men behind India's biggest tax reform

By Vicky
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    In the year 2000, Atal Bihari Vajpayee called on the then Chief Minister of West Bengal Jyoti Basu asking him to spare his finance minister Asim Dasgupta. Vajpayee who was then the Prime Minister was convinced with the idea of a uniform tax throughout the country.

    It was during a meeting of the Vajapayee and his advisors, including three former RBI governors IG Patel, Bimal Jalan and C Rangarajan that the GST was proposed. The idea of uniform tax throughout the country was discussed at length and approved of.

    GST: The men behind India's biggest tax reform

    A committee was set up in 2000 headed by Dasgupta to design the GST model.

    The Asim Dasgupta committee was also asked to put in place the requisite back-end technology and logistics for rolling out the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

    Asim Dasgupta:

    An MIT doctorate, Dasgupta is considered to be India's finest economist. When Dr Manmohan Singh replaced Vajpayee as the Prime Minister, he refused to change Dasgupta as the head of the GST committee.

    Dasgupta worked on the GST model for 7 years. He also headed another committee, formed by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, to structure the GST bills.

    K M MANI:

    Dasgupta was succeeded by the then finance minister of Kerala K M Mani. He continued the work left by Dasgupta.

    Mani worked on finalising the GST bills while trying to allay fears among states that the GST would end their financial autonomy and hamper their tax collections. Mani also interacted with traders' bodies to convince them that the GST would make trading easier in the country.

    Mani however had to step down from the post as he was embroiled in a corruption scandal in 2015.

    Amit Mitra:

    After K M Mani resigned as the head of GST committee, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley turned to West Bengal again. Mitra, the finance minister of Bengal was made the head of the GST committee.

    As the central government started pushing for July implementation of the GST, Mitra developed reservations and advocated more calibrated approach while implementing the biggest tax reform. He maintains that the GST in its current form is not acceptable to him.


    Arun Jaitley pushed for the implementation of the GST. In 2015 he set April 2016 as the deadline to rollout GST. It was however later changed to July 1 2017.

    Jailtey ensured that all the four GST Bills are passed by Parliament by August, 2016.

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