July 2017 News

J&K To Have Special But Not Separate GST

2 July 2017
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: With Jammu and Kashmir gearing up to implement Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the next few days, the Government has made it clear that the State would have special but not a separate GST framework even as the main Opposition parties, National Conference and Congress have called their crucial strategy meetings tomorrow to finalise stand for Special Session of Legislature begining July 4. Anticipating that NC and Congress could create pandemonium in the Legislature especially the Assembly, some of the PDP Ministers have spoken to Speaker Kavinder Gupta seeking ban on the entry of electronic media in the Lower House, but the Speaker is understood to have turned down the proposal saying this was against the democratic norms. Official sources told the Excelsior that the State Government has made it clear that it was committed to ensure that Jammu and Kashmir has special but not separate GST framework. These and many other changes can be affected in the notified Act for making them applicable to J&K. 'Tax administration in respect of the dealers based in the State will remain in the hands of Tax Authorities of J&K including the Audit. The State Government can also set up a Tribunal to adjudicate the tax disputes arising out of implementation of GST. For other States, the Tribunal set up by the Union under the CGST Act only is applicable,' sources said. They added that tax incentives given under the Industrial Policy can be continued to support industrial sector in the State. Cross-LoC trade can be maintained in the present form,' they added. NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah has called meeting of senior party leaders in Srinagar at 11 am tomorrow to discuss strategy on GST and the Special Assembly session. A section of NC was of the view that they should boycott the session, which has lost sanctity following Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu's statement that GST in the State will be implemented from July 6. BJP Core Group met here this morning for two hours and decided that the party stood for implementation of GST in Jammu and Kashmir at par with Centre at the earliest. The BJP would take up with the PDP to ensure that there was no dilution in the GST Act when the legislation is introduced in both Houses of the Legislature during the Special Session on July 4. The Core Group meeting among others was attended by Union Minister in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh, BJP national general secretary, Incharge Jammu and Kashmir, Ram Madhav, Avinash Rai Khanna, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh, Sat Sharma 'CA', State chief, Shamsher Singh Manhas, Jugal Kishore Sharma, both MPs and Ashok Khajuria. Dr Jitendra Singh told the Excelsior after the Core Group meeting that the GST should be implemented in Jammu and Kashmir immediately after the Legislature nod to ensure that traders and common people don't suffer. Former Speaker and National Conference veteran Mohammad Akbar Lone said the National Conference has decided that the party would study the legislation introduced by ruling PDP-BJP coalition in the Assembly before taking a decision. 'We are very clear. The Government shouldn't surrender taxation powers of the State before the Centre. We are not against the GST but it can be implemented only after ensuring safeguards to Special Constitutional Position of the State,' Lone said. PCC (I) president GA Mir said he has called the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting tomorrow to finalize party strategy for Special Legislature Session on GST. 'We support the GST but J&K has its Special Position, which has to be protected while implementing the new tax structure,' Mir added. CPM legislator MY Tarigami reiterated that under no circumstances, the Government should compromise on Special Position of the State while implementing the new tax regime in Jammu and Kashmir. Meanwhile, anticipating that National Conference, Congress and some Independent MLAs could resort to pandemonium in the Legislative Assembly during nod to the GST legislation, sources said some PDP Ministers have approached Legislative Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta seeking ban on the entry of electronic media in the House to bar the protests from live beaming by the news channels. Sources said the Speaker is understood to have approached Lok Sabha Secretary to seek his suggestions, who was of the view that in the democracy such a restriction was not possible. Otherwise also, sources said, the Speaker is reported to have rejected the proposal discussed with him by some PDP Ministers on the ground that such a decision would send very wrong message not only in the State but in the country as well.