Union Minister of state in the PMO Jitendra Singh on Sunday said the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) in Jammu and Kashmir would help boost the economy of the state. “The provisions in GST will certainly boost the economy of the State and put it on the track to emerge as a part of the global economy towards which India is heading,” Singh said during a function in Jammu.
Singh said, “those who have reservations, whatsoever, against bringing GST to Jammu and Kashmir, need to ask themselves whether their reservations are based on merits or demerits of GST per se, or they are motivated by certain extraneous considerations regardless of the economic benefit accruing from GST.”
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“In latter case, they will have to do a lot of explaining to the people of the State, particularly the business and trade community, for having deprived the State from the benefits of GST,” he said.
Singh said that time has come, that the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the business community will have to come out of the mindset of being ‘subsidy seekers’ and instead aiming at becoming ‘subsidy givers’.
“For long, the trade and business in the State has depended on Central incentives and benevolence, which might have also intimidated the initiative to be on our own,” he said. It is a strange irony, Singh said that just two to four hours away from Jammu, cities like Jalandhar and Amritsar have become business hubs of India, while Jammu still has a long way to go.
“Time has come to ask ourselves, is it because instead of providing incentives, there has been series of disincentives against investment or establishment of industry in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
He said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the entire country is moving on a fast-track of economic growth and if we choose to deprive ourselves of this fast growth, for whatever reason, it may be too late to catch up with the rest of the country.
He said, even the Northeast has fast emerged as an investment hub for organic farming and local entrepreneurship, and therefore, it would be a tragedy that a state like Jammu and Kashmir, which does not have the disadvantages of lack of connectivity and distant terrains like Northeast, ultimately ends up as a loser in the race.