GST debate: Trade warns of ‘2008-like situation’ if central GST law extended to J&K

The KCC&I president, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani. (FPK Photo/Muneen Farooq Itoo)

Srinagar: The statement of senior right wing BJP leader and deputy chief minister, Dr Nirmal Singh, that the central Goods and Services Tax (GST) be extended to J&K state “as it is” invited sharp reaction from the Kashmir based trade bodies.

Warning of 2008-like situation, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (Inc) on Saturday said, “the statements made amount to blackmailing Kashmir and paving way for further unrest and 2008 like situation.”

“We (BJP) have already conveyed to our alliance partner PDP that if the GST is not rolled out in Jammu and Kashmir till July 1, we won’t hesitant to take an extreme step in the national interest,” said deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh, addressing a seminar ‘Jammu & Kashmir: present scenario and our responsibilities and duties’ in Jammu last evening.

In 2008, Kashmir valley erupted against an order issued by the then PDP-Congress government transferring land to Amarnath Shrine Board. The order, however, was withdrawn after people came on road.

The PDP-BJP coalition government is facing stiff resistance from pro-India political parties and trade bodies across the regional divide of J&K against the extension of 101th amendment of Indian constitution to state.

The unionist parties and trade bodies believe that extending central GST law will erode fiscal autonomy of J&K state.

Taking a strong exception to the statement made by the Deputy Chief Minister, J&K State with regard to implementation of GST from 1st July, 2017 and his “threatening to pull out from the coalition government” if the GST is not implemented in the state from 1st July, 2017, the KCC&I president, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani   in a statement wished to remind Dr Nirmal Singh that he in his position as Deputy Chief Minister of J&K “should be more conscious about the adverse implication of such statement which  in its content reads creating divide between Jammu  and the Kashmir regions of the State just to seek political mileage”.

“Statements that are not conducive to establishing peace in the state, made by the partners of the government should be avoided and the sensitive issues like GST be dealt with more responsibility by the government,” he said.

“It needs to be understood that adoption of GST in its present form in the state shall amount to clear violation of financial autonomy and special status of the state which KCC&I will oppose tooth and nail,” he asserted.

The President added, “the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry would expect the coalition partners to refrain from dividing the trading/business activity of the state  on regional lines through their unwarranted statements.”

The Mehbooba Mufti led government has formed an All Party Committee (APC) which will be meeting at Nehru Guest House this evening to evolve a consensus on GST.

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