President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday approved the Goods and Services Tax Constitution Amendment Bill, paving the way for the new tax regime, PTI reported. The Bill needed to be ratified by at least half the total number of states to be sent to the president.

This comes a day after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the April 1 deadline to implement the GST was a stiff target for the government, and the Centre was “running against time”. The new tax regime is a key issue for the Bharatiya Janata Party government as it is expected to bring about widespread economic changes by replacing the multiple commercial taxes currently levied in India with a single one.

The Constitution amendment has been ratified by 20 states so far, with the Assemblies of Andhra Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh giving the proposed law their formal consent on Thursday. Following the president's approval, the government will have to introduce two follow up pieces of legislation that will govern the way the GST is implemented and how tax rates will be set.