SRINAGAR: The J&K legislative assembly adopted on Wednesday a resolution to implement the goods and services tax in the state, paving the way towards a truly “one In dia, one tax system”. J&K was the only exception when other states implemented GST on July 1. The resolution was moved by state finance minister Haseeb Drabu and passed by voice vote despite resistance from the opposition.
The legislative council, too, adopted the resolution by voice vote. The resolution moved by finance minister Drabu also called for a presidential order to safeguard J&K’s special status and its power to set its own taxes.
“Section 5 (J&K Constitution) and Article 370 of the Constitution (of India) will remain unchanged,” Drabu assured those opposing the resolution during the special session. Section 5 of the J&K statute gives the state exclusive powers of taxation.
The opposition National Conference, CPM and Congress, however, demanded safeguards for the state’s special status under Article 370 and said the assurances of the ruling PDP-JP were vague.The opposition urged the government to make its own GST law, as it had done for VAT. To this, Drabu said an alternative law would require amending the Constitutions of J&K and of India.
“Amending Section 5 of the J&K Constitution will open a Pandora’s box. Instead, what we are proposing is that the GST Council must come within the ambit of Article 370,” he said.