SRINAGAR: After failing to meet deadline on implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Jammu and Kashmir, the PDP-BJP coalition government has convened four-day Special Session of J&K Assembly from July 4 to discuss the implementation of the new tax regime in the State.
“Speaker, J&K Legislative Assembly, Kavinder Gupta, in exercise of his powers under 3rd proviso to Rule 16 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of the Business in the J&K Legislative Assembly has called the Session of Assembly on July 4,” an official spokesman said.
The 4-day special session has been convened to discuss the implementation of GST in the State.
The GST will be rolled out in the country this midnight but Jammu and Kashmir has missed the July 1 deadline due to lack of consensus among the political parties in the State over implementation of the new tax regime.
The opposition parties and traders 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 them, the 101st Amendment of the Constitution of India to implement GST could not be extended to J&K.
The all-party meeting convened by the coalition government on Thursday on implementation of new tax regime in the state remained inconclusive with opposition parties seeking safeguards on the financial autonomy of the State and the government demanding suggestions from them in the form of resolutions.
It was government’s third such attempt to iron out differences on GST.
A special session of the J&K Assembly was also convened on June 17 to discuss GST but the house was adjourned sine die without discussing the new tax regime.
Meanwhile, Jammu Chambers of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) President, Rakesh Gupta told New Indian Express that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu have assured them that the new tax regime in the state will be implemented by July 8.
He said both the CM and the FM told them that special session of J&K Assembly would be convened to discuss and deliberate GST implementation.
“We were assured that the government will complete legal formalities on GST implementation till July 8,” Gupta said.
He said goods can’t be imported by traders from outside the state from July 1 due to non-implementation of GST in J&K “as outside traders can’t bill J&K traders without new tax regime in the state”.
“Till GST’s implementation, we will continue to pay VAT,” Gupta said adding the J&K traders could purchase goods from outside states only after GST implementation.
The JCCI president said if GST was not implemented, it could create panic and chaos in the State as it would not only hit the traders but people of the state will also suffer due to shortage of essential commodities.
Unlike Jammu traders, the traders in Valley are opposed to implementation of GST in the State.
“The traders' community in Kashmir is ready to face any losses but won’t allow implementation of GST in its present form,” Khan said while addressing a press conference here, today.
Stating that “One Tax and One India” idea was not acceptable to J&K, which enjoys special status under Article 370, he called for Kashmir Bandh on Saturday against the proposed implementation of GST in the state.
He maintained that traders in the state have never been against any taxes but added that they won’t allow eroding of the special status of J&K.
“Even if coming in the way of GST means sacrificing our lives, we are ready for it and won’t allow any amendments to the special status of J&K,” Khan said adding, “If GST is implemented, it would snowball into a major controversy and government would be responsible for that.”
The bandh called has been supporters by traders, transporters, fruit growers, mutton dealers, tour and travel operators, house boat owners and others.
Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) has already made it clear that it would not allow implementation of GST in its present form as it compromises financial autonomy and special status of the state.
The chamber has asked the state government to spell out alternate measures to be taken by it from July 1 when GST would be rolled out in other states.