Srinagar: After nothing came out of the special Assembly session called to discuss the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the government will issue a formal notification on Thursday announcing the head and members of an All-Party Committee (APC) that will hold consultations with various stakeholders on implementing the GST in Jammu and Kashmir.
“So far, the government has not issued any formal notification regarding the formation of the consultation committee,” Information Minister Zulfiqar Chowdhary told Kashmir Reader. “If all goes well, the government will issue the order for the formation of the committee on Thursday. As far as I know, I think (Muzaffar Hussein) Baig sahib is likely to head the committee.”
The minister said the consultation committee will comprise various stakeholders who will work to reach a consensus on GST implementation in J&K.
“The idea is to evolve a consensus on GST. That is why we deferred the decision to implement GST in the state. Our economy cannot work in isolation. We have to integrate our economy. Otherwise, the prices of commodities will skyrocket and business will suffer,” Chowdhary said.
When asked to comment on a BJP party official’s statement that the GST will be implemented in J&K “as it is”, the information minister said it was an individual opinion.
“The government has made a decision to form a consultation committee. Individual voices do not matter,” he said.
Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu did not respond despite repeated requests to speak on the formation of the APC.
The government had earlier said that it would form an APC to discuss ways of implementing GST in the state, after last week’s special session of the Legislative Assembly was adjourned sine die, without passing the GST bill.
The decision came after Opposition parties and business bodies threatened to oppose the GST “tooth and nail” as it would compromise J&K tax laws and the state’s fiscal and constitutional autonomy.
The government had also given the impression that Member of Parliament and PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig would head the APC, which will be composed of legislators, business bodies and political party leaders.
However, sources said that Baig was unaware of any government decision to make him the APC head.
“He has not received any formal order to head the APC on GST,” sources said.
Earlier the media had reported Baig as saying, “I have heard that a committee has been set up and I am its chairman. But I have not yet received any communication from the government in this regard.”