SRINAGAR: The PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir and opposition parties and traders are on loggerheads over implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) to the State with opposition National Conference on Thursday cautioning against hasty implementation of the new tax regime in the State while traders called for shutdown on Saturday against implementation of GST.
“We met the Governor recently and also put our stand forward in the All Party Meeting held recently that NC won’t allow implementation of the GST regime in its present form through the application of Constitutional Amendment 101 to J&K,” said NC’s provincial president Kashmir, Nasir Aslam Wani.
He cautioned PDP-BJP government from undertaking any decision that would cause harm to State’s fiscal and political autonomy. “The implementation of GST regime in its present form would not only dilute State’s fiscal autonomy but also deem irrelevant State Legislature and State Cabinet as far as the question of taxation is concerned”.
Senior NC leader and former finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather said the State government was playing with fire by trying to implement the GST regime in its current form.
“It will have dangerous consequences,” he said while addressing media yesterday.
Rather said if J&K accepts the new GST regime in letter and spirit, the special status of the state, as well as the fiscal autonomy would be impinged.
The former finance minister said with new GST regime in the present form, J&K was surrendering its special powers.
The traders’ bodies in Kashmir have also opposed implementation of GST in the State and cautioned government that implementation of new tax regime snowball in a major confrontation.
Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) Secretary General Faiz Bakshi said the extension of GST to J&K amounts to direct infringement with the special status of the state.
He said GST would deprive the state of its financial autonomy.
Bakshi said KCCI has already made it clear to Chief Minister and Finance Minister that GST shall in no way be acceptable to them as it tantamount to the erosion of the special status of J&K.
Meanwhile, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) today called for Kashmir bandh on Saturday (June 17) against proposed implementation of GST in the state.
“We won’t allow the government to implement GST in the state at any cost as J&K is a disputed territory and enjoys its own constitution and powers,” KTMF president Mohammad Yasin Khan said.
He said the GST implementation is aimed to infringe special status of JK. “We are against the government move and will oppose it tooth and nail”.
“We will also hold sit-in in the afternoon of Jun 17 against the implementation of GST,” Khan said.
The separatist leaders have also opposed implementation of GST in the state.
Finance minister Haseeb Drabu has tried to clear apprehensions by asserting that implementation of GST would not erode the financial and taxing autonomy of the State.
He told representatives of political parties during recently held APM that if GST is not implemented in the State then J&K is likely to be on the loser's side.
Drabu said in case J&K government doesn't extend GST regime to the state, it will double the taxes on commodities and no one will do business with traders of the state. "Share of taxes in indirect taxes will be zero causing a loss of Rs 5000 crore to J&K".
The Mehbooba government has convened a special session of J&K Assembly on June 17 to discuss extending GST to the State.
Sources, however, said that the Assembly session would be adjourned after taking up obituary references on June 17.
During the recently held All Party Meeting to discuss the implementation of GST in the State, opposition parties had demanded to postpone of the Assembly session.
According to sources, the government may constitute All Party Committee (APC) to discuss the implementation of the new tax regime in the State.
APC would be headed by constitutional expert and senior PDP leader, Muzaffar Hussain Baig and comprise representatives of all political parties, they said adding recommendations of the committee would be discussed in special session likely to be conveyed after Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr.