SRINAGAR: After holding an all-party meeting over the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Jammu and Kashmir, the government is set to implement the law by July 1, the day when the law goes into force across India.
Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu told Kashmir Reader that the state would be able to meet the July 1 deadline. “Yes, we will be able to meet the deadline of July 1. Slowly the consensus is emerging across political parties. Nobody has an objection to GST, only to some modalities of its implementation. We will take it further from here,” Drabu said.
The state government had called an all-party meeting on Tuesday to listen to the opposition’s point of view on GST. Before this the government had assured the business community that GST would not harm the special status of the state.
The opposition political parties, however, said that the government does not seem clear about how GST will be applied in the state. Independent legislator Er Abdul Rasheed told Kashmir Reader that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in her concluding note to the meeting said that the law will be implemented with consensus of political parties. “She even said that nobody had kept a gun on her for its implementation. She said it will be discussed in the assembly and if no consensus is made, it will be discussed again,” said Rasheed.
Senior leader of the Communist Party of India, Muhammad Yousuf Targami said that though the discussion was healthy, there was no clarity on what the government intends to do.
“We have kept our point of view before them but there was no clarity how the government will implement it. Now let’s see what happens in the assembly,” he said.
In a government handout issued here, Drabu was quoted as saying that the J&K Legislature can enact a comprehensive GST law where tax will be levied corresponding to aggregate SGST and CGST. “We will harmonize GST in J&K by extension of only such limbs of Constitutional Amendment 101 which are already applicable to JK, thereby keeping special status and fiscal autonomy intact,” he said.
“In the event of non-participation by J&K, the state will become isolated having a closed door economy with all negative consequences and cascading tax which will adversely impact the economy and trade in the state,” Drabu said.
The 4-hour marathon meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, Minister for Revenue Abdul Rehman Veeri, Minister for RDD Abdul Haq, Minister for Social Welfare Sajjad Gani Lone, and Minister for Health and Medical Education Bali Bhagat. Chief Secretary BB Vyas, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Rohit Kansal, and Commissioner Secretary Finance Navin K Chaudhary were also present in the meeting.