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GST rate reform to remove red-tape, says Narendra Modi

Vinay Umarji & Agencies/Ahmedabad 07 Oct 17 | 08:36 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the foundation stone laying ceremony of a bridge between Okha and Beyt Dwarka in Gujarat.

Terming it an “early Diwali", Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his public address in Dwarkaon Saturday looked to assuage dissent among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in poll-bound Gujarat by lauding his government’s move to revise the goods and services tax (GST) rates and rules.

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Stating that he was happy with the reception to the changes in the GST, Modi said that his government had further simplified the tax. He said he did not want business to suffer.

In what is being seen as campaigning ahead of the Assembly polls, Modi is on a two-day visit to his home state. On Sunday, he will also visit his birthplace Vadnagar for the first time since assuming the office of prime minister.

Addressing a public gathering in Dwarka, where he laid the foundation stone for a Rs 900-crore bridge that connects the island pilgrimage tourist spot of Beyt Dwarka, Modi maintained that changes were bound to be made after three months of studying the GST.

“Today, everywhere it is being said that Diwali has come 15 days ahead. I am happy... We had said that we would study the GST implementation for three months and would overcome any discrepancies. Our FM (Finance Minister Arun Jaitley) convinced everyone in the GST Council to bring in changes," Modi told the gathering.

“When there is trust in the government and policies are made with best intentions, it is natural for people to support us. I thank the people of this country for their support," Modi asserted.

Taking a dig at the Opposition Congress party, Modi said, “I remember the days of Madhavsinh Solanki (incumbent Congress state chief Bharatsinh Solanki’s father) as chief minister. He had come to inaugurate one water tank in the Jamnagar district and had himself photographed. Their concept of development was limited."

Announcing the setting up of India’s first and biggest marine police training institute at Mojap in Devbhoomi Dwarka district, Modi said, “I would like to give a gift to the people of Gujarat that will benefit the entire country. For the security of coastal areas, we are working to modernise the marine police, which looks after coastal security till 5 km from shore. To help train policemen from across the country, a marine police training and research institute will be set up near Mojap."

Alluding to the rising criticism over the government's economic measures and development agenda, Modi asserted that development would continue to be the driving force for his government.

“This generation may have suffered poverty but we will take development to such heights that future generations do not get to see poverty. The world's attention is being drawn to India. People are coming to invest here. All this will bring opportunities for the people of India," Modi said.

Later, laying the foundation stones for a Rs 2,500-crore greenfield airport in Rajkot and the six-laning of the Ahmedabad-Rajkot National Highway later in the day, Modi stated that the definition of development had changed.

“The definition of development is changing. Earlier, a hand pump would be installed and a leader would use that for multiple elections. Things have changed now. We are bringing waters of the Narmada here, for the benefit of citizens," Modi said at a public gathering in the pilgrimage town of Chotila.

Speaking about the Rajkot airport, Modi said that the government needed only 4 per cent of farmland for the airport, while the rest was barren land that had been acquired.

On Saturday, Modi also laid the foundation stone for the four-laning of the Rajkot-Morbi state highway, apart from launching a fully automatic milk processing and packaging plant and a drinking water distribution pipeline for the Joravarnagar and Ratanpur areas of Surendranagar.

The two-day visit to Gujarat will see Modi addressing about six public meetings at the launches of various schemes and projects at five places in three regions of the state.

Later in the day, Modi dedicated a new building of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar, to the nation.

Addressing students at IIT Gandhinagar, Modi said, “You are IIT-ians, I was a Tea-ian when I was young (I sold tea)."

Talking about digital literacy, Modi said that work was under way to spread it to every part of India, among all age groups and sections of society. “In this day and age, we cannot afford to have a digital divide," he added.

On Sunday, Modi will visit his birthplace Vadnagar in north Gujarat to inaugurate a Rs 500 crore civil hospital and a medical college, apart from dedicating a re-developed lake and facelift of the Vadnagar railway station.

Hoardings highlighting several achievements of Modi's three years as Prime Minister have been put up along the route, depicting his journey from Vadnagar to Varanasi.

Modi will also on Sunday lay the foundation stone of the Rs 1,200-crore Devi Ni Mori International Buddhist complex near Shamlaji in Aravalli district, also in north Gujarat.

Later, the Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone for the Rs 3,000-crore Bhadbhut barrage project over the river Narmada, as well as a Rs 650-crore Dahej-Ghogha Ro-Ro ferry service near Bharuch in south Gujarat, before flying off to New Delhi from Vadodara.

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