Ruckus in J&K assembly over GST

Ruckus in Jammu and Kashmir assembly over GST bill, Engineer Rasheed marshalled out

The Jammu and Kashmir assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution to adopt the goods and services tax (GST) law even as opposition and traders opposed the move, fearing compromise of the state's fiscal autonomy.

The PDP-BJP government convened the special session to end logjam over GST implementation after failing to evolve a consensus over the issue outside the legislature.

Sarcastically, congratulating the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Additional spokesperson of National Conference Sarah Hayat Shah wrote on her Facebook "With the vigorous attempts of the PDP, the RSS agenda is flourishing in J&K".

There have also been protests against the tax in the state.

The state Council adopted the resolution on the tax reform during a special session, after two days of heated debate between the Treasury and Opposition benches during which the Upper House was adjourned several times.

Drabu ruled out the possibility of presidential order on extension of GST taking a parallel route other than Article 370. "It will open a Pandora's Box that will have implications on J&K's special constitutional position". "Besides, the exclusive powers of the State to tax and the Consolidated Fund of J&K shall not be impaired", he said.

Drabu said Article 370, which gives the state special status, shall not be compromised in any way.

In some of the dramatic and rage-filled moments during the special discussion over the GST bill on Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir minister Imran Ansari threatened National Conference leader Devender Rana "I can lynch you here." in the Legislative Assembly.

Offering details, Drabu said there was drop by fifty percent in the incoming truck traffic from 2000 trucks to 1000 in July as the outgoing truck number fell by 66 percent from 300 to 100. "This is adversely impacting our trade and economy", he said.

Describing the GST Council as a "truly federal institution", Mr. Drabu said, "India is moving from coercive to cooperative federalism". "It is being used for creating fake controversies", he said.

Reacting to the demand of opposition to bring a separate GST law for J&K, Drabu said alternative law will require amending constitution of J&K and of India. "Instead, what we are proposing is that the GST Council must come within the ambit of Article 370", he said.

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