SRINAGAR: With Jammu and Kashmir being the only State not to clear Goods and Services Tax (GST), the ruling BJP on Wednesday said the new tax regime should be rolled out in the State from July 1 as is the case with rest of the country saying if it is not implemented then State’s economy would fall part.
“BJP is of the opinion that the GST should be implemented in the State from July 1 as is the case with rest of the country. If it is not rolled out in the State from July 1, then State’s economy would be badly hit. It would be very bad for the state,” J&K BJP’s chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi told New Indian Express.
He said BJP leaders have told the Mehbooba Mufti-led government that the GST should be implemented in the State from July 1.
He said nobody including PDP is against the implementation of GST but they are only concerned about the fiscal autonomy of the State.
“Our view is that fiscal autonomy has been taken care of by the constitutional amendment and this amendment is coming to J&K through Article 370, so there is no question of fiscal autonomy being compromised,” Sethi said.
The opposition and business community in Valley have objected to GST’s extension to the state in its current form saying the law infringes on J&K’s residual political autonomy and its special powers to legislate on financial matters.
According to opposition National Conference, the extension of the 101st Amendment of the Constitution of India to implement GST can’t be extended to J&K.
However, Sethi said the implementation of GST is not going to affect J&K’s fiscal autonomy.
“It would rather cement the autonomy as it is coming through Article 370 only,” he said
Sethi said it was wrong on part of the government to convene special session of Assembly on GST for general consensus.
“The GST has to be cleared by the cabinet. It is job of the cabinet to pass the constitutional amendment and there was no requirement to discuss it in Assembly,” he said.
He said constitutional amendment has to be applied to State through cabinet decision. “After the cabinet concurrence, there would be presidential order and only after constitutional amendment applies in the State, it could be passed by the State legislature. You have to take state act to the legislature and not the amendment. There is no need for it”.
The government convened All Party Meeting and then special Assembly session on GST. However, the special session was adjourned sine die without members discussing GST implementation.
The government has decided to form All Party Panel (APP) to look into the apprehensions raised by various stakeholders on implementation of GST in the State. It has asserted that it will not push for GST implementation in the State till there is complete consensus on the issue.
The traders body -- Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) today said it would not allow the implementation of GST in the State in its present form as it compromises the financial autonomy and special status of the State.
The chamber has asked the State government to put in public domain the proposed draft GST bill for public opinion. It has also asked government to spell out alternate measures to be taken by it from July 1 when GST will be rolled out in other states.
The BJP chief spokesperson said traders have not been informed about implications if GST is the not implemented in the State.
“Traders of the State will be paying new GST, VAT, entry tax and octoroi, etc if the GST is not implemented. The traders will face losses as they will have to pay triple taxation,” he said
According to Sethi, the prices of commodities in J&K would be very high compared to other states.
He said it is easy to convince the traders on implementation of GST but unfortunately no serious efforts are being made by concerned people to convince the traders and clear the misgivings.
The State cabinet, Sethi said, should give concurrence to the new tax regime before June 30 . “If it is not implemented, State would have to bear irreparable loss. The State’s economy will fall apart”.
“If GST is not implemented in the State, it is going to create financial problem in the State after July 1. The government has to do something to implement it before June 30,” he said.