Won’t allow infringement of Article 370: Kashmir INC on GST implementation

On a day when Goods Services Taxes (GST) council meet was organized in Srinagar, the business community of Kashmir warned the State government against implementation of GST, stating that they won’t allow infringement of State’s special status.
The business chambers and associations flayed the state government over its decision to hold meet in Kashmir, stating that “they have kept business community in darkness about the impact and ramifications of one tax regime.”
Kashmir is a disputed territory, by bringing it under uniform taxation policy is akin to implementing the BJP’s agenda of ek vidhan ek pradhan,” said Chairman, Kashmir Economic Alliance, Muhammad Yaseen Khan.
“We have apprehensions that GST would take away our financial autonomy,” he said adding that “already our special status has been eroded by one way or the other, but this time we won’t let it happen again and will oppose GST tooth and nail.”
He said that the government should have also taken into confidence business community before initiating any step about the GST which will be detrimental to our fiscal autonomy. “But unfortunately they don’t deem it fit to discuss issues with taxpayers,” he added.
President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani said, “Constitutional provisions related to taxing goods and services should not get infringed upon in any manner by application of GST regime.”
“Moreover there are various factors which needed to be deliberated with the business community here, but government is not bothered about it. That is why since they have not held a single meet with Kashmir Inc regarding GST,” he said.
The economic activity of J&K state is not same as in other states. While it is based on industrial product/ manufacturing in other states ours revolve round handicraft, trading, horticulture produce, tourism services and cottage & small scale industries and therefore deserves to be treated differently with minimum percent taxation on these products, Wani said, in a written statement.
Acting Chairman of its faction of Kashmir Economic Alliance, Farooq Ahmad Dar said that they will launch agitation if the GST is implemented in JK.
“It will dilute our special status,” he said while warning the state government of “not fiddling with state’s constitution.”
“It is a historic fact that Kashmir is not like the other states, so that uniform taxation policy should not be implemented here as it would take our power to tax our services which our constitution entitles us,” he added.
President, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation, Bashir Ahmad Rather opposed the implementation of GST.
“It is not Delhi or some other state. The government must understand it and stop attempting any moves that will erode our financial autonomy,” he added.
Goods and Services Tax (GST) is likely to be rolled out on July 1 across India, however, JK needs to bring its own legislation before the GST could be implemented in the state.