GST debate: ‘If the amended GST bill does not safeguard fiscal autonomy, we will oppose it,’ says Opposition

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Srinagar: With PDP-BJP government holding All Party Meeting (APM) on implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the state on Tuesday, the opposition pro-India political parties said that the government should have presented the draft bill on GST to traders and stakeholders before passing it in the cabinet.

The parties said that they will oppose GST implementation if the new tax law erodes fiscal autonomy of the state and Article 370.

“People have apprehensions in implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by the government. All stakeholders and opposition political parties should have been taken on board before the draft bill was framed and passed in the PDP-BJP Cabinet,” J&K Congress unit chief, G A Mir, told KNS.

The government has called an all party meeting on implementation of GST in the state.

“Our stand in the meeting tomorrow will be to circulate GST bill in opposition parties and businessmen here so that people know what the Government is going to do about the GST,” Mir said.

“GST should not erode financial autonomy and weaken Article 370. These two issues should be explained before the people. Incase, there is any fiddling of these two matters, we will vehemently oppose imposition of GST in the state,” he said.

National Conference Provincial President Nasir Aslam Wani said that the party will see as to what modification and amendments the government is bringing in GST draft bill.

“If the amendment to the GST bill does not safeguard fiscal autonomy of the state and Article 370, we will oppose it in the meeting,” Wani said.

CPI (M) State secretary and independent legislator from Kulgam, M Y Tarigami said that anything which erodes the fiscal autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir will be “unacceptable” to the party.

Tarigami said that the CPI (M) will oppose any “negative move and infringement” of State’s “special” status.

“As our state is enjoying its own powers, our party (CPI M) won’t allow those powers to be infringed by any side in any way. We will continue our effort to strengthen and protect the fiscal autonomy, which our state has been enjoyed,” Tarigami said.

However, the government has maintaining the extension of GST does not infringe the Article 370 as Jammu and Kashmir has separate constitution and tax laws are implemented under Section 5 of the constitution.

J&K Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu has said that the extension of GST has three aspects: constitutional, administrative and legal.

“If we don’t extend GST to the state, no business can be properly done in JK as two taxes will be imposed in the state,” Drabu had said.

Drabu said that the government will review after five years the experience of GST in the state. “GST is a consumption tax and the state will gain Rs 60-70 crore additional revenue.”

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