Govt likely to defer Assembly session on GST
All Party Meeting on GST held at SKICC
Srinagar, Jun 13: As the debate over extension of Goods and Services Tax (GST) to Jammu and Kashmir is raging, All Party Meeting was today held at SKICC here which was attended by ruling and opposition parties to iron out differences in implementation of the new tax regime.
The meeting was called by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti after NC and Congress opposed the extension of GST, stating that GST will erode fiscal autonomy of the state and Article 370. The meeting lasted for more than two hours in which participants raised their apprehensions and objections to extension of GST.
Though there was no consensus on the extension of the GST regime to the state, the opposition insisted for deferment of the Special session called by the government from 17-20 of this month.
The opposition leaders told KNS that the government agreed to postpone the session and will hold further wider reviews and debates on GST’s impact on fiscal and political autonomy of the state.
National Conference provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani told KNS the party leaders informed the meeting that it will oppose the draft legislation bill on GST if it does not safeguard the fiscal and political autonomy of the state.
“The outcome of the meeting was that the Government agreed to defer the scheduled four day Assembly session on GST beginning on 17th of this month. The government will hold a obituary session on 17th and then will defer the session. We demanded to form an expert committee which will review the GST bill and its applicability on fiscal and political autonomy of the state,” Wani said.
Tarigami told KNS that he asked the government to explain its point of view on GST and its applicability on the state’s tax and fiscal position.
“If the GST is extended to the state without holding broader review and consensus, it will lead a big blow to our fiscal autonomy. We are for reforms in tax but our we should form our laws to safeguard our fiscal and constitutional autonomy,” Tarigami told KNS.
“There was no consensus in the meeting,” he said, adding that government should form a group of economic experts to review the draft bill and central draft bill to explore its applicability and impact on Jammu and Kashmir.
Congress leader G N Monga told KNS that the party vehemently said that it will not compromise on the fiscal and constitutional autonomy of the state.
“Assembly session will be deferred till there is clarity on GST and its impact on the fiscal and constitutional autonomy of the state,” Monga told KNS.
PDP General Secretary Nizam-u-Din Bhat told KNS that the opposition leaders demanded that the Special Assembly session on GST should be postponed till there is broader consensus on its extension to the state.
“Chief Minister told the leaders of opposition parties that the government has no hesitation in deferring the Special Session on GST,” Bhat told KNS.
Though the session will be held on 17th but the Business Advisory Committee will decide on the same day about deferring the session.
When the meeting began, Mehbooba expressed her gratitude to the leaders of the opposition for attending the meeting.
Besides, Mehbooba, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh, State’s Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu, Revenue Minister A R Veeri, Public Works minister Naeem Akhter and Social Welfare Minister Sajjad Lone attended the meeting. Former finance minister and PDP leader, Muzaffar Hussain Baig also attended the meeting.
NC was represented by former finance ministers Abdul Rahim Rather, Mohammad Shafi Uri, provincial presidents, Nasir Aslam Wani and Davender Singh Rana, while Congress party was represented by Deputy Legislature Party leader in the Assembly, Aijaz Ahmad Khan, chief whip in Legislative Council, Ghulam Nabi Monga and former Minister of State for Finance and Planning, and MLA Bandipora, Usmaan Majid.
Ruling BJP was represented by State party president Sat Sharma and two other leaders. (KNS)