In occupied Kashmir, trade bodies and a civil society formations have come together to form the “Kashmir Coordination Committee” to resist implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) law.
According to media sources, former president Federation Chambers of Industries Kashmir, Shakeel Qalander in a media interview said that the decision followed a series of meetings between trade and business bodies and civil society groups to put pressure on the administration to come up with its own law on the GST.
He said around 30 trade bodies and civil society groups are part of the umbrella organization, KCC. The Valley-based traders and opposition parties including National Conference are at the forefront of opposing the GST which aims at economic integration of the territory with India. They have been opposing the extension of 101st Amendment Act of the Constitution of India to Kashmir that would bring the territory within the ambit of the GST, arguing the move would force the territory to surrender the powers to collect taxes to New Delhi. “We reject the law and we will in unison oppose its implementation to J&K,” said Qalander. A senior member of Kashmir Economic Alliance, which is now part of the KCC, said the committee would ask the government to come up with its own GST model that will take care of state’s autonomy and its economy. “The law shall not infringe upon our special position,” he said. “Our position is that till we get constitutional, administrative and economic safeguards, National Conference will not accept the GST. The authorities should not do it (implement GST in its present form). But if they still do it, they will have to face the consequences,” said National Conference senior leader Abdur Rahim Rather.