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5:11 pm - Monday November 20, 2017

All-party consultative group meeting on GST today

Agencies, Srinagar

With just 36 hours left for the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the country, Jammu and Kashmir PDP-BJP coalition Government is making last efforts to bring opposition onboard on the issue, calling All-Party Consultative Group (APCG) meeting here this afternoon.

The opposition, particularly National Conference (NC) and Congress besides Communist Party of India (M) are opposing the implementation of GST in its present form, alleging it will have far reaching negative impact on the financial and political autonomy of the state.

The earlier meeting of APCG on the issue could not yield any result after NC and Congress stayed away, alleging that they were not provided any draft proposal of GST by the Government. However, CPI (M) and some other opposition MLAs and leaders participated in the meeting, demanding safeguard of the financial and political autonomy of the state.

This time the Government is hopeful that the APCG will reach consensus as they have already provided the draft proposal on the tax regime to opposition political parties. Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir said the party was not against the GST, which in fact was the brainchild of Congress when BJP opposed it. But, he said, we want to ensure the Special Status of the state is protected while implementing the GST in the state.

The APCG, headed by former deputy Chief Minister and senior PDP leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig, has again called a meeting this afternoon to reach any consensus on the implementation of the GST. The traders and industrial bodies too have opposed the GST, threatening to launch an agitation if it was implemented without addressing the concerns of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, enjoying the special status under Article-370 of the Constitution.

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. Meanwhile, the coalition partners, particularly Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu has time and again taking pains to explain to people and opposition besides traders that GST will never ever weaken the special status of the state or traders.

Dr Drabu has announced to answer all queries of people on GST in a live show on Kashmir Channel of Doordarshan today from 2000 hrs to 2100 hrs. 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. He said all concerns will be safeguarded while implementing the GST.

However, he warned that if the state misses the GST bus the consumers and traders will be the worst hit as they have to pay more. A Special Session of Legislature on the issue was called which later was adjourned sine die after obituary reference without even discussion the GST after Business Advisory Committee of both the Houses agreed to hold more discussion at APCG meeting.

Posted in: Business, Featured, Nation

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