After the government’s failure to generate consensus over Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the two rounds of marathon discussions with the representative of all the mainstream oppositions political parties including the main opposition National Conference, the decision to convene a two day assembly session for discussing GST on July 4 and July 5 is an indication that chaos over GST will continue for some more time in the state. Interestingly the GST chaos is not only a war of wits between the ruling PDP-BJP combine and the opposition NC-Congress combine but also a war of nerves between PDP and BJP the two coalition partners presently not on the same page over the implementation of GST in the state. Though Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh recently refuted the media reports about his threat of a pull out from the PDP headed coalition government in less than twenty four hours but the repeated assertions of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley about the compulsion of the implementation of GST for the shattered economy in Jammu & Kashmir speaks volumes about the simmering differences between PDP and BJP over GST implementation in the state. Though Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu is repeatedly talking about the economic compulsions on implementation of GST for trading community in Jammu & Kashmir state but the main opposition National Conference backed by its erstwhile ally Congress, trading bodies and civil society groups on the die hard opposition to the extension of article 101 of the Indian constitution to Jammu & Kashmir has made the implementation of GST an issue of political aspirations but not a compulsion of economy and business in the state.
While Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu talks about the impossibilities on changes in the constitution for invoking a separate GST for Jammu and Kashmir the opposition NC-Congress combine, trading bodies and civil society groups have isolated Drabu by laying more emphasis on constitutional safeguards for article 370 than on the implementation of GST in the state.
So the implementation of GST is less an issue of the business transactions of the traders of Jammu & Kashmir with the other parts of the country and more a matter of grave concern on the protection of article 370 guaranteeing special status to this Himalyan border state which has been at the core of difficulties in strained India-Pakistan relations for last seventy years. The government on its party has preferred to take the route of legislation instead of the ordinance route to sent out a message that the power of the state assembly is as supreme as is that of the parliament which has already passed a legislation on GST applicable in all other state excepting Jammu & Kashmir because of its special status under article 370.While Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu talks about the impossibilities on changes in the constitution for invoking a separate GST for Jammu and Kashmir the opposition NC-Congress combine, trading bodies and civil society groups have isolated Drabu by laying more emphasis on constitutional safeguards for article 370 than on the implementation of GST in the state.