Government Tuesday tabled the resolutions seeking the extension of the GST to state in both the houses of state legislature amid the protests by National Conference and Congress MLAs who accused it of eroding the special status of the state.
National Conference and Congress slammed the government over what they alleged ìerodingíí the autonomy of the state on the goods and services tax (GST).
Participating in the discussion over the GST, former Minister and NC senior leader, Mohammad Shafi Uri slammed the government for eroding the autonomy of the state. He said that that the government was not clear under which rule it was introducing a resolution in the legislative assembly to clear the GST.
He quoted rules and stated asked the Speaker to clarify under which rule the resolution was introduced in the House. ìIf the government has committed a mistake, it can amend the resolution,” he said.
However Speaker, Kavinder Gupta, disagreed and quoted the section of the business rules under which he noted that any of the members canít challenge his wisdom to allow the introduction of a resolution. Intervening during the discussion, Law Minister, Abdul Haq Khan, however said that the ìresolution was permitted by the speaker under section 176.íí
CPI (M) MLA, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, said though he is not raising any question on the intentions of the Finance Minister but he ìwishes to know which kind of modifications he is seeking in the Amendment 101 of the constitution of India that he wants to be extended to the state.íí
Congress MLA, Nawang Rigzin Jora, said that the government was violating the basic structure of the constitution in extending the GST to the state. ìSection 12 prevents any change in the section and 3 and 5íí he said.
Uri talked in detail about the constitutional problems that the state would face in case the GST was implemented here. Earlier, government moved the resolution seeking extension of GST to the state in both the houses of state legislature.
Minister for Finance, Labour and Employment, Haseeb Drabu, moved the resolution in the Legislative Assembly to facilitate implementation of GST in the State.
This House resolves that the Government of Jammu and Kashmir may give consent to the adoption of the GST regime by application of relevant amendments made to the Constitution of India in a modified manner to safeguard the existing special constitutional position of Jammu and Kashmir in the Union of India and the legislative powers under the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir,î the resolution moved by Drabu read.
The resolution was seconded by Minister for Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs and Information, Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali.
Highlighting the importance and benefits of the GST, Finance Minster said that the new tax regime has been rolled out in the entire country except Jammu and Kashmir, which has the special status in view of its own Constitution. He said it is in the interest of J&K to shift to the new tax regime to protect the interests of the State and all stakeholders.
Seeking support of the House, Drabu said the state government has brought the issue of extending GST to J&K ìwith the sincerity of purpose.íí
“The issues of constitutionalism should be debated by lawmakers and settled in this house. This should form the basis of our democracy,” he said.
Drabu said that the new tax regime is being debated across the country since 2002 and J&K Government is only becoming part of a process in which the Opposition National Conference also participated when the party was in power.
ìJammu and Kashmir has a special place in the Constitution of India, and there is a set procedure for extending constitutional amendments to the state. Our intention is to have thorough debate on the draft legislation to clear all aspects related to it. It is not just the cabinet which can take decisions, but legislature has a very important role in it,” he said.
Drabu said the state government called an all-party meeting which was followed by three meetings of All Party Consultative Group on GST to evolve a broader consensus on implementing GST in J&K.
“We are sincere and don’t have any devious plans. But not all wisdom rests with the Government and there are other eminent lawmakers in this House who can contribute tremendously on this important law. We want to listen to all viewpoints and take a sense of this House. The Government believes that every legislator has equal right to present their view points and make valuable suggestions. We will try to allay all fears that may emerge in this House, which is the most empowered legislature in the country,” Drabu asserted.
Earlier Minister for Roads and Buildings, Naeem Akhtar, on behalf of Minister for Finance Minister moved the GST resolution in upper house of state legislature. The resolution was seconded by legislator Vikramaditya Singh.
While initiating the debate on proposed resolution, legislator, Firdous Ahmad Tak highlighted the benefits of extending the GST regime to the State.
He said the economy of the State would receive the necessary impetus by coming under GST regime. He said the implementation of the GST in the State is a biggest step in the tax reform.
Legislator Girdari Lal Raina also took part in the discussion, welcoming the adoption of GST across the State. He said the implementation will boost the economy and benefit the masses at large. He said that the uniform tax system would bring relief to the people and government would be able to deliver with more accuracy.