Heated exchanges were witnessed in the Assembly on Tuesday over the Goods and Services Tax (GST), with the Opposition describing the new tax regime as an attempt to “attack the idea of Jammu and Kashmir”.
As the special session on GST began, senior National Conference leader Devendar Rana said, “There is an attempt to attack the idea of Jammu and Kashmir as also the idea of India.” Rana was debating a resolution brought by Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu. “This House resolves that the Government of Jammu and Kashmir may give consent to the adoption of the GST regime by application of relevant amendments made to the Constitution of India in a modified manner to safeguard the existing special constitutional position of J&K in the Union of India and the legislative powers under the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir,” read the resolution.
The resolution talks about safeguarding the special position of the state, but the Opposition termed it vague. The Opposition urged the government to make its own GST law — like it had done for VAT. BJP members tried to allay fears on GST. “There will not be any effect on Article 370, which is sacrosanct,” BJP legislator R S Pathania said.
Amid heated arguments, PDP minister Imran Raza Ansari alleged that Rana had “got the GST number” for his business and was misleading the people. Rana retorted that he had not evaded tax like some people, in an apparent reference to Ansari’s late father Iftikhar Hussain Ansari.