Firefighting? PDP led govt to form all-party panel to ‘decide’ on extension of GST law to J&K; ‘BJP silent’

Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti on June 13, 2017 convened an All Party Meeting to discuss various issues related to the implementation of GST regime in J&K.

Srinagar: In a bid to douse flames raging over the proposed extention of central Goods and Services Tax (GST) to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the PDP-BJP coalition government has decided to form a non-government panel to decide over the issue.

The union government led by BJP is rolling out a pan India tax regime: One India, One Tax in form of GST from Ist July this year. However, the pro-India opposition parties and trade bodies have opposed the extension of the central law to the state.

The resistance leadership termed the law as a plan “to cripple economy of J&K”.

Till now, J&K would decide on its own taxation laws, however, if the pan India GST is extended through 101 Indian constitutional amendment to J&K, those fiscal powers will be scrapped as it would be GST council which will be authority to decide on taxes.

After facing much opposition from the trade bodies and National Conference, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti called an All Party Meeting early this week, however, there was no consensus evolved over the law.

The opposition parties remained adamant that J&K should bring its own law than extending a central law.

However, in all this, the right wing BJP – partner in J&K government – is maintaning silence.

It was interesting when Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries (JCC&I) joined the Kashmir based trade organisations against the extension of central GST law to J&K. It advocated for saving the interests of J&K guaranteed under special status.

Now, the Mehbooba led government has decided to constitute a panel of experts to build consensus on GST implementation.

The decision to form a panel to reach a consensus on GST coincides with the special session of J&K Legislature which shall meet on Saturday morning. However, government is understood to have decided to delay the session post Eid-ul-Azha.

FinMin Dr Haseeb A Drabu chairing a meeting with trade bodies in Srinagar over GST implementation in J&K.

The assembly shall meet only to take up obituaries after which Business Advisory Committee (BAC) shall decide on working of the assembly.

The session of state legislature was particularly called to debate GST implementation. The government also held several rounds of meetings with trade bodies but reportedly the trade leaders did not come on board over the issue.

If reports are to be believed, PDP MP, Muzaffar Hussain Baig, shall head the panel and no representative from government will be part of it. It will be an All-Party panel.

The panel shall include “constitutional and economic experts” as well.

In the All Party Meeting chaired by CM Mufti at SKICC here a few days ago, sources said that MP Baig also criticised the PDP led government over the “manner in which GST was being briught in to J&K”.

The panel is supposed to submit its report within two weeks.

The order in this direction is expected to be issued today after the state cabinet under Mehbooba Mufti meets here.

J&K state draws its power to levy taxes from Section 5 of its constitution while other states draw their power to tax from Article 246 of the Indian Constitution.

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