Closer to New Delhi?

Closer to New Delhi?

Haseeb Drabu has stated that the Goods and Services Tax(GST) will be rolled out in Jammu and Kashmir on the Ist of July, 2017. Alluding to a consensus over the GST, Drabu said that, “ Nobody has an objection to GST, only to some modalities of its implementation”. It may be pertinent to note here an Assembly session is also going to be held over the nature and implementation of the GST in Jammu and Kashmir. The GST, among other things, is a rationalization of the tax structure and there are centre- state relations implications and connotations involved in its rollout. Key to the politics of the GST is the so called “GST Council” which is structurally skewed towards New Delhi. But this is insofar as the broad, albeit reductive and brief overview of the GST is concerned. The issue is the paucity of debate that has taken place in Kashmir over the nature of the tax , its politics and implementation. All these assume salience in Kashmir which is a society and polity defined by conflict and which has a very different political relationship with New Delhi. Haseeb Drabu, has gone hole hog in pushing the GST, is on record, saying that the GST will pave the way for “ cooperative federalism”. This has obvious implications on the nature of Jammu and Kashmir’s nature of federal structure and relationship with India; this relationship is defined or, in the least, corresponded to the premise of “ adversarial federalism” which implied a degree of antagonistic relationship with New Delhi. But , if the GST leads to “cooperative federalism”, then is the structure of Jammu and Kashmir’s federalism at risk? This question cannot be answered with certainty given that there hardly has been any debate on the nature of the GST, its implementation, implications and consequences in Kashmir. The GST thing in Kashmir appears to more in the nature of a top down affair where the predilections and penchants of certain ministers appear to be more important than the debate itself. Moreover, given the paucity of debate over the GST, speculation would fill in the vacuum re the concept itself and its rollout in Kashmir. One aspect of the speculation doing the rounds is that by rolling out the GST in Kashmir, and whether there are economic and financial benefits or not, certain powers are making Kashmir move more closer to Delhi. Admittedly this is speculation, but in the absence of genuine and real debate over the issue, what the truth is remains obscure?

 

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