Taxation, Housing, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Meghalaya Zenith M. Sangma, who is also an GST expert and attended the Srinagar GST meet held recently talked to News Kashmir in an exclusive interview with Rameez Makhdoomi and Farzana Mumtaz.
How beneficial will be GST for a place like Kashmir?
GST will be definitely fruitful for a place like Kashmir and entire Jammu and Kashmir state as it is beneficial to Meghalaya like state, as we both are consuming states and it is quiet productive for consuming states since it is a destination based tax.
What were the main decisions taken in GST Srinagar Meet ?
Some important decisions were made. Mostly we decided what tax rate will be imposed on different commodities and also on services .We have also advocated that in our states for products like raw areca nut ,Dryfiz no tax should be imposed but for sin goods heavy tax should be imposed.
With states having right to have own GST law, wont it create chaos by one central law and many state based GST Laws. Your take?
There is conflict in certain issues, but through debate, threadbare discussion we will resolve the issues facing GST .
Many critics state GST is import preferential and thus it will hit make in India initiatives?
It is a good question and in this regard I want to state that the rates would be fixed in a such a way that import commodities do not get the undue advantage .
A state like Jharkhand, Bihar have different financial structures as compared to Assam, Meghalaya .How will GST Cater to this facet?
Yes it is true and especially the manufacturing states would be initially losing for few years due to GST and in this regard amendment has been made and constitutional provision is made that for five years Government of India will compensate such states.
Will GST be a different from VAT experience ?
When we work out the overall features it looks GST would be a good experience . In a state like Meghalaya we would be gaining in most of sectors.
Have you recommended any reforms in GST ?
Yes we have recommended reforms- for example in Handloom sector as we have lot of weavers working in handloom sectors and for statistics vise North East accounts for more than 50 percent of handloom and weavers in India so in this regard products made by weavers themselves will have zero tax .
How do you find the position of Congress in Meghalaya amid rise of BJP allover India ?
The ideology of Congress is very strong and grass rooted in Meghalaya and it is slated to do well again in upcoming general elections .
What has been impact of rising Cow politics on State like Meghalaya?
The rise of right wing politics has been felt in Northeast India , but we do not like this beef ban and nobody can dictate us what to eat. Without beef our people cannot servive.
Your Message to Youth ?
Youth are the future of nation and if we do not pay attention, focus to youth issues we will face lot of problems and we have to teach youth how to be more productive. We in Meghalaya are embarking on many programmes to help youth in grooming.