India’s upper house of parliament on Wednesday cleared a key tax bill, helping the nation move a major step closer to implementing a unified goods and services tax (GST) regime in the country.
The GST will replace a patchwork of levies imposed by the federal, state and local governments with a single and simplified tax structure, in one of the most significant reforms in India since the 1990s.
The tax bill, which marks the biggest legislative victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he took office two years ago, now has to be endorsed by the parliament’s lower house and then ratified by at least half of all states, Bloomberg News reported.
The process is expected to be completed before the end of the year.
“Today is indeed a historic day,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said after the vote, noting that the bill was passed unanimously in the Rajya Sabha, the parliament’s upper house.
In a series of tweets, Modi congratulated lawmakers on a “path-breaking decision” and said the tax reform will help “take India to new heights of progress”.
A key industry association hailed GST as one of the most awaited reform measures.
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