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JAMMU: In a meeting held with Business Advisory Committee, BJP State President & MLA Jammu West Sat Sharma, accompanied by BJP Chief Whip Rajesh Gupta and Bashir Ahmed, MLA Kupwara of People Conference, expressed their concern on the negative approach of the opposition as far as the implementation of GST in the State is concerned. Sat Sharma said that the opposition is deliberately trying to create hurdle in the application of GST in the state due to their anti-people stance. GST will benefit every section of the society leading to a win-win situation for all.

However, the opposition has chosen to oppose it for their narrow political ends. Sat further warned that if application of GST is delayed beyond 01 July, it is badly going to hurt not only the traders and businessmen but the common man as well since the prices of goods and services in J&K will skyrocket due to double-taxation. It would also have a negative impact on the various ongoing and future developmental projects Referring to the   sine-die (for indefinite period) adjournment of the special session of Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Assembly, which began on 17 June, he said that it is very unfortunate that the leaders from the opposition parties are not even ready to participate in the discussion on the proposed GST Bill and are shying away from their legislative responsibility.

Terming the sine-die adjournment as unfortunate and avoidable, Sat said that instead of being adjourned sine-die, the session could have been postponed for a definite period or gone for a break or recess, so that the session could have resumed to discuss and pass the GST Bill so that its implementation is not delayed in the State. He said that, if the opposition is having certain reservations on the GST issue, they should have used the floor of House to discuss the issue threadbare so that all misgivings are clarified by the members of the treasury benches.

Sat Sharma regretted that rather than choosing the democratic procedure, the opposition leaders chose to hog limelight and headlines by politicizing the subject and making politically motivated statements to arouse passions. The concerns of the opposition were addressed during the All Parties Meet convened by the Chief Minister but they still decided to oppose the bill so that its implementation in the state is delayed. The doors of the government are always open but the opposition is adamant lamented the BJP leader.

He also rebutted the opposition charge of playing with the special status of J&K, by the introduction of GST in the State. On the contrary, it will initiate a new era of tax compliance among the traders and consumers which in turn will strengthen the finances of the State, since J&K is a consumer state. As a rough estimate, an annual revenue of 10,000 crore will be generated said Sat Sharma.

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  • ‘New tax regime will be extended to JK with adequate constitutional safeguards’

 

SRINAGAR: Reiterating that the constitutional amendment regarding GST does not apply to J&K suo-moto, Minster for Public Works Naeem Akhtar today said that GST is a good tax reform which will be taken up for implementation in J&K only after arriving at consensus through broad-based consultation process. “Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti had called an All Party Meeting ahead of the special session of legislature to take the viewpoint of the people’s representatives and seek their suggestions regarding implementation of GST in the State,” Naeem Akhtar told reporters here today.

 

The Minister said that after multiple apprehensions came forth ahead of the special session of the legislature from trade community, consumers as well as political parties, the government decided to further deliberate on the issue to ensure ample safeguards are put in place to clear the public misgivings. For this, an All Party Panel has been constituted to take suggestions, viewpoint and inputs from all stakeholders so that interests of the consumers can be protected, the Minister said adding that the “Government will not push for GST implementation in JK till the time there is complete consensus on the issue”.

 

He further said that inputs are welcome from all stakeholders including so that the government can work towards resolving those concerns besides strengthening the reform so that it becomes a people friendly tax reform and there is a consensus in the State regarding the same. “Government is willing to introduce GST in the state with ample safeguards as this tax reform will be beneficial for the state economy and traders. With proper safeguards, GST will not endanger the special status of Jammu & Kashmir granted to it by constitution of India under Article 370”, the Minister said.

Responding to the queries raised by the journalists, the Minister said that there will be effective consultation process which will surely help the government to come up with an overall better and consumer friendly GST.

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  • CM pays rich tributes to late leaders
  • Says never before have consultations been held on extending Central law; Expresses anguish over killings

SRINAGAR: Reiterating her stand that dialogue is the only way forward to get the State out of the web of uncertainties, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti said the roots of the present situation lay in the fact that democracy in the past was not allowed to flourish and dissent was throttled. Speaking on the Obituary Reference in the House today, the Chief Minister said it was a matter of satisfaction that the constituency for dialogue and reconciliation in the State is expanding like never before. “I am happy to see Shafi sahib (of National Conference) demanding for dialogue and ceasefire. This is unlike the past when I demanded conducting dialogue with separatists, the then Chief Minister threatened to throw them in Jhelum,” she said. Similarly, she said, when she raised the same demand before the then Prime Minister, I K Gujral at Qazigund, the then Chief Minister said he would revolt if talks are held.

 

Mehbooba Mufti said she was satisfied to note that people have changed opinions and the option of dialogue is getting greater acceptability. She said despite the two countries having fought four wars over it, Jammu & Kashmir continues to bleed and that is why dialogue with all stakeholders in the State has been prioritised in the Agenda of Alliance of the present Government. The Chief Minister said the present state of uncertainty in Jammu & Kashmir has its roots in muzzling of dissent as a result of which many people who wanted to join the mainstream politics were forced to choose otherwise. Had the democratic exercises like 1987 election been conducted fairly and voices of dissent given the respect they deserved we wouldn’t have seen the terrible phases the State has been passing through, she added.

 

On the idea behind convening the special session of the legislature over GST, the Chief Minister said her Government believes in empowering this House and respecting the voices of dissent which unfortunately have been muzzled in the past. She said the aim is to allay fears and misunderstandings among people on this issue. She said this is for the first time in the legislative history of the State that wider consultations were held and a special session of the House was convened to decide whether or not to extend the law to the State.

Paying rich tributes to the leaders who passed away in the intervening period, the Chief Minister said those were the people who worked tirelessly for the welfare of people and society. She described late G C Saxena as a seasoned administrator who contributed to the State with his rich expertise and experience. Mehbooba Mufti said late Ali Muhammad Naik worked till his last breath for his people which showed his commitment and resolve for the public life. She said the late leader would always bless the young legislators with his words of wisdom.

 

The Chief Minister described late S. Rangeel Singh as a decent human being for whom public service was in the genes. She said the late leader was a living example of harmony and brotherhood in Jammu. She also paid glowing tributes to Syed Nizamuddin, Rishi Kumar Koushal and Shanti Devi. Strongly condemning the dastardly killing of six policemen at Thajiwara, Achabal, Mehbooba Mufti paid rich tributes to the policemen and civilians who were killed in various incidents of violence yesterday. Later, the House stood in silence for two minutes to pay respects to the departed leaders.