Assuring Saudi and Indian business leaders that his government is working to set up a predictable long-term taxation regime, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the long-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) would soon be implemented in India."Don't worry...GST will happen, it will be a reality soon," Modi said, addressing the gathering at Saudi Arabia's Chamber of Commerce here."Retrospective tax is a matter of the past. My government will continue to work towards establishment of a predictable long-term taxation regime," he added in a reference to recent disputes involving Indian tax authorities and multinationals like Cairn and Vodafone.The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, to implement a pan-India tax for a complete overhaul of the extant indirect tax regime, has been approved by the Lok Sabha. It is currently stalled in the Rajya Sabha, where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) doesn't enjoy a majority.The government hopes the next biennial elections in the Rajya Sabha will give it enough seats in the upper house to pass the GST Bill.
Modi, who is undertaking a three-nation tour, landed in Saudi Arabia on Saturday on the last leg.He urged the audience to move beyond the traditional bilateral trading relationship."Let us move beyond merely the export-import relationship. Joint investment, technology transfers are areas that we should explore," Modi said.Listing petroleum, renewable energy, infrastructure, defence and agriculture, as areas ripe for expanding cooperation, the prime minister said: "India and Saudi Arabia should look at working together for building a dynamic global management sector for the cyber world.""India and Saudi Arabia are old friends, but we are ready to take bold new steps into a golden future," he added.