Says govt suffering from acute confusion, doesn’t know what to do with GST
Srinagar: The state’s main opposition party, the National Conference (NC) on Wednesday said it will oppose the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in its present form “tooth and nail” because it compromises the fiscal autonomy and special status of Kashmir.
“It is akin to playing with fire, if GST is implemented in the current form. We will fight such a move tooth and nail,” said senior NC leader and former finance minister Abdul Rahim during a press conference at a local hotel here.
Rather said the government was suffering from acute confusion and was unable to understand “how to implement and what to do with the GST”.
Flanked by NC provisional president Nasir Aslam Wani, Rather said that finance minister Haseeb Drabu had himself written in the press that GST implementation would be both a financial and a political loss for Jammu and Kashmir.
“How is everything fine now?” Rather asked. “How will the finance minister protect the special status of the state after implementing the GST?”
Rather said the Opposition would not allow the surrendering of tax powers to anybody.
“The implementation of GST will change the tax administration of the state,” Rather said. “And a large chunk of the administration will shift to the Government of India. Our party would oppose in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly the implementation of GST.”
The NC leader claimed that the government has started asking businessmen to register themselves under the new GST law.
“Why are they being registered when the GST law has not been implemented? How can they do it?” Rather questioned.
Referring to the all-party meeting that was held on Tuesday, Rather said that the NC and other parties had urged the government to ensure the special status and fiscal autonomy of the state.
“Senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Beigh, who was present at the meeting, accepted our concerns. He conceded that the Opposition was right,” Rather added.
“We will not accept the GST law in its current form. We demand that the government show us the modified version of the GST bill,” he said. He further said the Opposition was currently deciding the strategy to fight the government’s ‘imminent decision’.
The state government had called an all-party meeting on Tuesday to give a hearing to the Opposition’s point of view on the GST. Previously, the government had assured the business community that GST would not harm the special status of the state
The government has made clear its intent to bring into force the GST regime on July 1, the day it goes into force across India.