Arun Jaitley, who was India's finance minister for five years through May 2019, died Saturday in New Delhi. He was 66.
Jaitley assumed the post of senior economic officer in India in 2014 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election victory, where he pledged to stimulate growth and create millions of jobs.
"Whether or not history will remember that Mr. Jaitley tried to pick up the pieces rather than cause the event itself, it is difficult to say," Naben Sen, India's Governor at the International Growth Center and a former Indian official told CNN Business.
"Old India has been economically fragmented. New India will create one tax, one market and one nation," Jaitley said when the reform was passed by parliament.
The tax was broad The International Monetary Fund said it could eventually add nearly two percentage points to India's growth, but many companies were struggling to adapt and said the new system was too complex.
"Of course, the crown of glory was the accomplishment of [goods and services tax] I think it will be his true legacy," Sen said.
Jiley is a longtime member of the Bharatiya Janata Modi Party, or BJP. He was elected president of the University of Delhi in 1974, representing the youth wing of the party. The following year, he was jailed for protesting the state of emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and spent 19 months behind bars.
He served as Minister of Law of India and Minister of Navigation in the previous BJP government in the early 2000s, and also briefly oversaw defense and corporate affairs during Modi's first term.