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After Jaitley Warning, J&K Assembly Adopts Resolution to Implement GST

GST had divided the valley for the last several days, with the opposition parties expressing fears that the state’s special status allowed under article 370 of the constitution will erode if it becomes a part of ‘One Nation One Tax’ policy.

News18.com

Updated:July 5, 2017, 9:51 PM IST
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After Jaitley Warning, J&K Assembly Adopts Resolution to Implement GST
Representative image.(Network18 Creatives)
New Delhi: Nine days after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley warned Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of ‘adverse’ effects if the state did not join GST, the state assembly adopted GST resolution. This has now cleared the way for GST to be implemented in the state.

The resolution has been passed on to the state cabinet which has called a special cabinet meet to give concurrence to Amendment 101, or the GST Act, to the state’s constitution to allow it to be implemented in the state.

After the cabinet gives its concurrence, it will then recommend the amendment to the President of India.

As soon as the Presidential Order is passed, GST act will automatically be extended to J&K, the only state resisting the big tax reform till now and the only one to have its own constitution.

GST had divided the valley for the last several days, with the opposition parties expressing fears that the state’s special status allowed under article 370 of the constitution will erode if it becomes a part of ‘One Nation One Tax’ policy.

However the ruling coalition, BJP – PDP, repeatedly assured the state’s leaders that GST “could interfere with the special status of Jammu and Kashmir”.

It was not just the opposition parties but PDP itself that seemed to be unsure about lending support to the reform, which is why GST couldn’t be rolled out in the state just like it was in every other state in the country.

However despite the adoption of GST resolution, the agitation over it may be far from over.

“We will protest against the manner in which the resolution was passed unilaterally by the majority and the manner in which people's concerns were not addressed. By bringing in Amendment 101 forcibly, this government has cared little for the special constitutional provisions of the J&K state. We will take this to people and expose the government,” said M Y Tarigami, CPM MLA.

Opposition parties including independent law makers have rallied against Amendment 101 despite assurances made by the state Finance Minister and PDP leader, Haseeb Drabu, about Article 370, which gives the state special status, not being compromised in any way.

Speaking in the floor of the house on Wednesday, Drabu said that “under no circumstances would section 5 of the state constitution, which gives Jammu and Kashmir exclusive taxation powers,” be eroded.

However, state leaders like National Conference’s provisional president Devender Rana have claimed that the opposition’s fears have not been allayed.

“The Finance Minister has failed to reply to the issues raised in the debate. PDP and BJP had made up their mind to anyhow pass this resolution, and bring GST without considering the aspirations of people. And they have bulldozed their way because of the majority they hold in the house,” he said.

However, the ruling parties, which had pressed quite strongly for an early resolution of the impasse, argue that the tax reform would only benefit the state in the long run. BJP legislators described passing of GST resolution as big event.

“This is a big day for J&K. We debated the issue for two days and the fact that J&K is a consumer state was brought forth. This tax regime is going to benefit J&K state a lot. It will help annihilate corruption and tax evasions. Only unscrupulous traders or businessmen need to fear the outcome of today’s resolution,” said Ravinder Rana, BJP MLA.

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