Srinagar: Trade bodies of Kashmir including the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) were scheduled to hold a sit in against the proposed Goods and Sales Tax (GST) bill, however Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has sought a meeting with the Biz community in this regard at 3:pm on Sunday.
The proposed sit in protest has been deferred, sources in business circles told Free Press Kashmir.
Earlier, FPK had reported that traders believe that if the GST bill is passed in its present form, it will force the handicrafts sector to down their shutters as they won’t be able to sustain.
The President of KCCI Mushtaq Wani had also warned that the state will surrender it’s financial autonomy to the GST council if the bill is passed.
“We cannot afford to lose our financial autonomy. We were planning to hit the streets in protest against the proposed bill. However we have been conveyed that the CM wants to meet us. So we have deferred the protest,” sources told FPK.
The opposition National Conference has already demanded an all party meet to discuss the bill and has accused the BJP-PDP government of passing the bill in a hush hush manner.
In a core group meet presided over by the working president of the National Conference and the former chief minister Omar Abdullah, it was observed that GST can have ‘wider ramifications on the state’s fiscal autonomy and impinge upon the residuary powers enjoyed by the state.’
NC also said that the Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu had on record stated that the GST, if applied, ‘neither the state legislature nor the state cabinet will have a say on J&K Taxation.
However in a recently held presser Drabu asserted that the GST during the times of former Finance Minister Rahim Rather was ‘altogether’ a different from than what it is today.
It’s pertinent to mention that Drabu used to criticize the GST in his columns written for the daily Greater Kashmir.
In the recent press conference Drabu said, “I was not against the GST per se but since I have taken over (as FinMin of J&K), we have affected huge changes in the GST draft bill and the GST we are going to implement in the state is ‘all-together’ different from what was being discussed during my predecessor’s regime,” he claimed.