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Clear the mist over GST
J&K government should have taken all political parties on board before the special session of legislature on implementation of GST
ActIT Jammu, Projects, Java,, C# Training Jammu
PDP-BJP coalition government appears to have landed in a piquant situation by adjourning the legislature session, which was called specially to debate implementation of GST in Jammu and Kashmir, under pressure from the opposition parties and the traders. The special session was adjourned sine die much to the embarrassment of the state government on this important issue because of the special status that J&K enjoys under Article 370 of Constitution of India. It was only on Saturday morning that the Business Advisory Committee (BAC), which was attended by all the political parties, it was decided to form a panel to sort out the differences that cropped up for extension of GST to J&K. Now that the state government had to find a way out and escape route that the committee has been asked to submit its report in consultation with opposition parties at the earliest so that GST extension to J&K is finalized. Despite the fact that there is opposition to implementation of GST in India by July 1, 2017 deadline from the business houses and traders' bodies in the country, J&K's case is entirely different because of its special status. The special status empowers the state government to enact any law for taxing the citizens notwithstanding what is happening in rest of the country. Besides this, the J&K also has powers to fix the rate of taxes to be imposed on its citizens which may not be in consonance with the laws enacted for this purpose in India. These issues had to be borne in mind before the PDP-BJP coalition regime embarks on any roadmap for extending the uniform tax regime under GST to J&K. Instead of holding of an all-party meeting just days before the special session of the legislature, the state government should have taken on board all the stakeholders including the traders, who sponsored a strike call on Saturday in entire Kashmir valley. The separatists also supported the traders fearing erosion of J&K's autonomy if GST regime formulated at the national level is extended to J&K. The feelings were no different among the political leaders of opposition parties, who have been batting for keeping J&K's autonomy intact on this issue.

Apart from this, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti's assertion that dialogue is the only way forward on all important issues concerning J&K is equally relevant on GST also. But somewhere the state government has been found faultering in holding dialogue with the opposition parties on GST's extension to J&K as part of the uniform taxation regime in whole of the country. It is worth noting that that state government has spelled out its intent to build a broad consensus before the implementation of GST in J&K. It is a welcome announcement from the state government that all the stakeholders will taken on board before a decision is taken to implement GST in J&K and make it more consumer friendly by holding discussions with cross section of the society including the traders, industrialists and representatives of business houses. The government's decision to clear the misgivings of all the people is also a welcome step. This is in line with the decisions of several state governments in the country, where they feel that GST in the present form cannot be made applicable unilaterally. This is the reason that majority of the states have not ratified the GST bill passed by the Parliament because they wanted some changes suiting the interests of the people in different states. Moreover, there have also been apprehensions on the issue of share in devolution of funds collected by the centre from states on uniform basis and the same is applicable to J&K. In the GST council meeting held earlier this month, J&K sought changes in rates of taxes on several items suiting the requirements of the people in different states. Many states still differed on rate of tax structure keeping in view the interests of their people. In a democratic set up, J&K like other states needs to do away with fears of all the stakeholders before announcing implementation of GST as part of the decision that is inclusive instead of being unilateral.

News Updated at : Monday, June 19, 2017
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