LA passes SGST bill amid opposition boycott

State legislative assembly Friday passed the State Goods and Service Tax (SGST) bill amid the boycott by the opposition National Conference (NC) and Congress.

The bill titled Jammu and Kashmir Goods and Services Tax Bill 2017 was moved by Finance Minister, Haseeb Drabu and was adopted by a voice vote as all opposition members boycotted the proceedings. The NC had already decided to boycott the Assembly Session, while Congress walked out and boycotted the Assembly after protesting in the House.

Both Congress and NC stated that the government undermined the “special status of the state’’.

Pertinently, Finance Minister Drabu said the GST regime will roll out in the state at midnight tonight. Before moving the bill for consideration and passing by the state assembly, Drabu read out the contents of the presidential order pertaining to the special status of the state and its exclusive taxation powers.

After completing the other legislative business listed for the day, Speaker Kavinder Gupta adjourned the House sine die. In the Assembly the GST bill was passed by voice vote.

National Conference  had earlier asserted that the vague, “ambiguous and anti-people resolution passed by the state legislature to extend the GST to J&K  was an unequivocal compromise with the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and amounts to a surrender of the fiscal autonomy of the state as guaranteed by the constitution of india.’’

In the  meeting of the party’s core group chaired by party president, Dr Farooq Abdullah, in Srinagar on Thursday, the NC said that the statement of Finance Minister, Haseeb Drabu, on the floor of the house terming the Article 370 of the constitution of India was an “obstruction to the development and progress of the state reflects the machinations of the ruling dispensation against the special political and constitutional identity of J&K.’’

Earlier the Congress party boycotted the Assembly Session. Speaking before they boycotted the session, Congress leader and MLA, Nawang Rigzin Jora, said  that the state government has resorted to subterfuge to clear the GST. He said that  the SGST bill which was tabled by Haseeb Drabu in the Assembly was provided to the members of the Assembly only an hour before, which didn’t give them the time to prepare.

Earlier CPI(M) MLA, Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami, said that the government was not taking the Opposition seriously and that it should have tabled the Presidential order issued over the GST before tabling the SGST. The Opposition members continued with their protest stressing that the financial autonomy of the state was getting undermined due to the GST.

 

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