Jammu Chamber joins anti-GST chorus, seeks protection of interests guaranteed under special status

KCCI president, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani (2nd from left) along with JCCI president, Rakesh Gupta in a presser in Srinagar in 2016.

Srinagar: In a major policy shift, the trade bodies in Jammu division of the state have joined the growing chorus against the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Jammu and Kashmir in its current form.

The Kashmir trade is on road arguing the “one tax, one India” law will erode the fiscal autonomy of J&K. They, however, advocated in favour of GST but said that J&K should have its own such law.

The Indian state shall experience a complete overwhual of its tax regime when it shifts to GST from July Ist this year. However, the law has faced stiff resistance from the parties across the ideological divide in J&K.

On Wednesday, the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) advocated strengthening of Article 370 that grants special status to J&K while.

JCCI demanded that “special powers with the J&K Government to tax or review should not be surrendered to the GST council.”

In a statement, the JCCI also endorsed the concerns of its counterparts in the Kashmir valley regarding the GST implementation and sent an “urgent communication of suggestions” to the Finance Minister for protection of their interests under the special status granted to the state.

The statement said that the JCCI, its office-bearers, led by president Rakesh Gupta, called on Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti at her residence in Srinagar yesterday and discussed the implementation of the GST in the state.

“The Chief Minister assured the delegation that special powers to tax/review shall be retained by the state so that the interests of the businessmen could be safeguarded. Later, the team called on the president, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and his office-bearers and discussed the issue threadbare. Both chambers arrived at the consensus that the GST implementation was not a problem but at the same time special powers with the J&K Government to tax/review should not be surrendered to the GST council,” the statement said.

It added that both chambers later had a meeting with Finance Minister Haseeb A Drabu where many other prominent business associations from Kashmir were also present and expressed concern regarding the GST.

“In response, the Finance Minister assured both chambers and others that the GST shall be implemented the way it suits the state and sought suggestions. He also assured that he shall try his best to get such suggestions incorporated by the GST council,” it said.

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