GST has clearly divided the business communities of Kashmir and Jammu. However, after consensus could not be reached out at All Party Meeting following opposition by NC, Congress and others, a meeting of Business Advisory Committee of both the Houses on June 17 in the morning made a decision to defer the issue and take only obituary references before the Houses were adjourned sine-die.
Ruling out the possibility of a fiasco post GST roll out, Jaitley further said that there might some minor glitches in the beginning but with time the process will smoothen up. The taxes to be integrated under GST include Central Excise Duty, Duties of Excise, Additional Duties of Excise, Additional Duties of Customs, Special Additional Duties of Customs, Service Tax, State VAT, Central Sales Tax, Luxury Tax, Entry Tax in lieu Octroi, Entertainment Tax, Taxes of Advertisement, Purchase Tax, Taxes on Lotteries, Betting and Gambling and State Cess. He also addressed a press conference yesterday during which he explained all points that implementation of GST will not affect the financial and political autonomy being enjoyed the state under Article-370.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan will be present for the launch of GST on the midnight of June 30.
"It is very sensitive issue".
"At a time when the government is claiming that the law has been amended 52 times in past, we want to convey them that we won't allow it to amend once again", he said, adding that the JK is disputed and the people here have sacrificed everything and "we won't allow anyone to play with the sacrifices". "If the opposition succeeds in convincing the public on the supposed harm of the GST it may well prove politically ruinous for us", said a PDP leader.
The Finance Minister said the existing tax incentives under the Industrial Policy will be continued and the cross-LoC trade can be maintained in the current form. The group met here twice but there has not been any major shift in the already stated positions. "We can not turn a blind eye to our constitutional and political issues while fighting for Azadi", he maintained.
Though separatists did not say anything about impact on special status by implementing GST since they are demanding right to self determination, but they expressed concern that it will impact the traders of the Valley. "More so, any attempt on fiddling with Section 5 will open a Pandora box which will have huge political ramifications for J&K in future".
GST was meant to simplify Indian tax regime by unifying the entire country into a single market with one tax rate. While West Bengal and Kerala took the ordinance route, other State Assemblies ratified the law.
Meanwhile, several groups of Kashmiri traders called for a general shutdown against the implementation of GST. The Legislative Council is also meeting separately from on July 4, 5 and 8.
Taking a dig at the Congress, the minister also insisted, "The GST Council is the first federal institution where every decision was taken by consensus".