On August 15, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while delivering his historic speech at the Red Fort had said, “We should move ahead for the realization of one society, one dream, one resolve, one direction for achieving our goals.” As he takes the place again and delivers the 71st Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort, it is important to see and analyze how much India has actually changed over the year.
From demonetization to GST, the Modi Government has introduced many reforms last year that have changed the country’s fate.
Entrepreneur India takes a look at the government policies and reforms that have vastly impacted lives of the masses in the past one year.
In an overt attempt to curb the curb the influx of black money into the country, at 8 pm on November 8, 2016, PM Modi addressed the nation and shocked them with the news that INR 500 and INR 1,000 notes were banned from the very next day.
“The triple impact of Demonetization, RERA and now GST have brought dramatic changes in regulatory, tax and business environment in India. The implementation of these landmark developments within a short span is bound to create short-term problems till our economy gets accustomed to it. However, in the long term all these are certain to make the industry more transparent, which will boost investors’ confidence in India,” Surendra Hiranandani, Chairman & MD of House of Hiranandani.
The day after, BSE SENSEX and NIFTY 50 stock indices fell over 6 per cent. The scene in every Indian city was pretty much the same — long queues in front of banks and ATMs.
Some banks even stayed open beyond office hours or on holidays to accommodate the severe cash crunch in the country. But the scare of demonetization had the rich and the poor alike, scampering around, some to convert their cash and some to collect.
The jury is still out on whether Modi’s celebrated move was really successful in eliciting the desired result, but the fact that the step has given a major big boost to the PM’s cashless economy vision cannot be undermined. There are accounts of many people in the Tier I cities, who could afford to ditch the queues during this crucial time and survive on digital payments. Fintech got a huge push as banks too started looking at them as potential partners.
Goodbye Subsidiary Taxes
At the stroke of the midnight hour on July 1, 2017, the PM, in the presence of then President Pranab Mukherjee, rolled out Goods & Services Tax in an ostentatious manner from the hallowed Central Hall of the Parliament. The aim was to give Indian citizens freedom from the innumerable taxes.
With the vision of one nation, one tax, GST has been touted to be one of the biggest reforms that the government has introduced. Under GST, tax slabs of 0%, 5%, 12%, 18% and 28% were introduced for goods and services.
Again, working as an impetus for the Digital India drive, GST didn’t just change the taxation structure of the entire economy but also changed our approach and the process of doing business. It forced businesses, big and small, to submit their tax documents online and by doing so, it has also made sure that we move into a paperless digital economy.
Rooting for RERA
In another move to promote transparency, the government brought alive the RERA Act. For The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) came into effect on May 2017 though the bill was passed in 2016. The Act made it compulsory for commercial and residential real estate projects to first register with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).
Hiranandani said, “As per syndicated reports, the Indian property market has received $3.15 billion from various investors in the first half of the current year. Increased consolidation and transparency along with the launch of REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) will act as the perfect catalyst for attracting more investments in the future.”
No more ‘Budgets’
For years and years together, India has seen two different budgets — the Union budget and the Rail Budget. But Finance Minister Arun Jaitley took things onto another track when he announced that the two budgets would be merged and presented as one. The move certainly is a historic one, changing the 92-year-old, British Era practice of presenting the Rail Budget. This was also followed by the news that the financial year counting will change from April-March to January-December.