Assailing the PDP-BJP government for giving exit window to chronic tax-evaders including to those involved in liquor trade, the National Conference (NC) on Saturday demanded rollback of amnesty in GST, estimated to be over Rs 1,000 crore as per government projections. Addressing senior functionaries of the party at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan in Jammu, NC President Devender Singh Rana assailed the PDP-BJP government for giving exit window to chronic tax-evaders as also to those of the liquor trade who have evaded tax from 2006 to 2015, citing public interest.
“We demand rollback of recent notifications pertaining to amnesty in General Sales Tax (GST), wherein the likely waiver would be more than Rs 1,000 crore as per estimates projected by the government,” he said.
“What a dichotomy; on the one hand the government claims to have financial crunch and on the other hand the same government is offering sops to defaulters and rule-breakers,” Rana said.
Taking a dig at the BJP and its ally PDP for indulging in sheer hypocrisy, Rana wondered how could the Centre, the so-called claimant of bringing revolutionary reforms for the overall public good, could condone the brazen and anti-poor decision of its state government to benefit those fleecing the state-exchequer.
“While the decision is needed to be revoked forthwith, the Centre must seek an explanation from the state government as to what were the compelling circumstances or public interest involved in waiving of the tax of defaulters at a time when the state was passing through difficult phase,” he said.
He added: “If any conscience is left with the coalition dispensation, the notification should not only be scrapped but the law enforcing agencies should be activated to realize dues from defaulters in a time-bound manner”.
“The amnesty has been designed to bail-out few unscrupulous business houses, which evaded taxes till 2004-2005 and the tax evaders in the liquor trade from 2006 till date because now the GST Act 1962 is applicable to those who are engaged with liquor trade,” he said, while expressing anguish over the state being denied huge amounts due to the defaulters and interest and penalty accrued upon these.
He described the move sinister and atrocious as far as public interest is concerned, saying that judicial process had almost reached its climax against the defaulters in pursuant to Public Interest Litigations by public spirited citizens.
“However, the unwarranted governmental intervention subverted the realisation process of dues and provided an umbrella to unscrupulous defaulters,” he said, maintaining that the amnesty and waiver culture has hit the economy of the state.
He said even the Jammu and Kashmir High Court prevented them from waiving of the penalty and not the interest accrued on the evaded tax. However, the government found it prudent to waive the penalty and the interest citing public interest, he added.