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A complete shutdown was observed in Kashmir on Saturday against the proposed GST implementation in the state. The Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) had called for the bandh saying that the introduction will erode the state’s fiscal autonomy. “The imposition of GST, in its present form, which stands on the principal of ‘one nation, one tax’ will erode the fiscal autonomy,” said KTMF president Mohammad Yaseen Khan. “This erosion would not be acceptable to the people of Kashmir.’’
Shops and businesses remained shuttered while fewer private and public vehicles plied on the roads in response to the bandh. The government imposed restrictions on the people’s movement in certain parts of Srinagar while additional police and paramilitary forces were posted at sensitive locations. Over hundred taders, carrying black flags, held a sit-in in protest at Lal Chowk in Srinagar.
The government has convened a special assembly session on July 3 to discuss the extension of a constitutional amendment to the state that is necessary for the GST implementation. Opposition parties have opposed any such move saying that it would impact the state’s special status. Finance minister Haseeb Drabu has tried to allay fears saying that the state’s “own SGST will be put before the assembly”.
“The government is trying to build a consensus. Kashmir is in a very fragile situation. We do not want to create a social chaos. So whatever we are doing is in the interest of the society not just economy,” he had said. A special assembly session to discuss GST had to be adjourned on June 17 after the government was unable to build a consensus.