Last year, when PM Modi launched the by now infamous Goods and Services Tax at an expensive event in Delhi, he was invited to the podium by an over-enthusiastic compere, who welcomed him with these words: ‘GST yaani ek rashtra, ek kar, ek bazaar, (GST as in one nation, one tax, one market) yahi hai ek bharat, shreshtha bharat (this alone is one India, great India), rashtra swabhimaan ke upaasak (the worshipper of national self-respect), mananiya pradhanmantri se ham sab vinamra anunay karte hain ki [we humbly request our respected Prime Minister to’ etc., He came out waving to the crowds.
It is one thing to sell an unbaked govern-ment fiscal policy under some PR gloss. It is another to aggressively push the dubious and fairly dangerous symbolism of one nation. Across government fora, hoardings and websites, you can find this slogan of one nation repeated ad nauseam. This is more than some whimsical patriotic fluff to oversell an unthought through tax regime. It is misguided and portentous.