GST- Kashmir Debate

Goods and services Tax Act GST is an much talked recent Economic reform in country to revolutionize the financial system, and many believe that if implemented in Jammu Kashmir state it will integrate state economy into mainstream economy of India like never before .But it’s proposed  implementation has already given rise to heated debate.

 

 

GST will be applicable in Jammu & Kashmir only after the state assembly passes a special law accepting the applicability of CGST & IGST law.

Pertinently, The Article 370 of the Constitution grants special autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. However, the Parliament of India retains the power to make laws on defence, external affairs and communication-related matters of the state. This is one of the reasons why the Service Tax levied all over the country since 1994 is still not applicable in J&K. The state levies its own taxes for services provided.

In an related Development,KashmirEconomic Alliance took a hard stance as its chairperson Muhammad Yasin Khan has asked the state government to take stakeholders from the Kashmiri business fraternity onboard before taking any decision on implementation of the “controversial” GST in the state else Valley will get dragged into another season of agitation.

In a statement, Khan said the government has been saying the GST would be implemented vide discussion at a special session in the Assembly. “We want to make it clear to the government that any such decision if taken without taking Kashmir Inc onboard will lead to a major crises and that those at the helm will be responsible for the consequences,” Khan said.

Recently 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  while talking to News Kashmir  in an exclusive interview had stated – “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.”

Eminent intellect  Avinandan Choudhury in India opines recently wrote – “While for the rest of India the implementation of GST regime is of vital importance but in the case of Jammu and Kashmir, its utility in regard to the stability and prosperity of the troubled state is not clear. Anything related to Jammu & Kashmir happens to be viewed through the prism of politics given its troubled political status.

The special constitutional status given to Jammu and Kashmir by the article 370 has over the years become a symbol of Kashmiri political and economic freedom. Given the recent demand for the removal of the article 370, everything remotely influencing the Special status of Kashmir will be viewed with suspicion and GST reforms when viewed through the prism of suspicion will look like another nail in the coffin of Article 370.”

Undoubtedly, GST implementation has given rise to much debate especially among many quarters in Kashmir.

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