GST a direct attack on special status of Jammu and Kashmir: KCCI, CCIK

The business chambers of Kashmir on Wednesday warned that if the Goods and Service Tax is implemented in Jammu and Kashmir, it would be a “direct attack” on the state’s special status.

In a statement, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Mushtaq Ahmad Wani said: “KCCI opposes extension and implementation of GST in the state. Implementation of GST will deprive the state of its financial autonomy and its powers to legislate on financial matters. Extension of such laws to J&K amounts to direct infringement with the special status of the state guaranteed and vowed to be maintained under Article 370 of the Constitution of India.”

The KCCI has made it clear in the meetings with the chief minister and as also the state finance minister that GST law shall in no way be acceptable as it tantamounts to erosion of special status of J&K,” Wani added.

Associated Chamber of Commerce & Industries-Kashmir (CCIK) in a statement said they are unable to understand how fiscal autonomy of Jammu & Kashmir will be protected when all the powers on indirect tax would lie with the GST Council and the tax collected will go to the central kitty.

“The argument of the government that central laws have been extended to Jammu and Kashmir 46 times earlier, so where is the harm if it happens 47t  time, is nothing but to justify one wrong with another. We are unable to buy this,” the statement read.

“It is our considered opinion that GST goes against the letter and spirit of the autonomy of the state. It will erode J&K’s say on taxation, be it the legislature or the cabinet. The GST Council can shoot down any proposal from the State on Goods and Services and this is going to happen to Jammu and Kashmir, the most empowered legislature. This will turn the financial autonomy of the state into financial dependence. We are going to lose less financially, much more politically,” the statement said.

“Under these circumstances, how can we retain financial autonomy after imposition of GST? We demand that people at the helm should give it a second thought so that ways and means are devised to continue with the existing laws and also protect the interests of trade, commerce and industry of Jammu and Kashmir,” the CCIK statement said

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