February 2017 News

GST: JK To Draft Own Law To Protect State's Special Status

15 February 2017
Greater Kashmir
Mukeet Akmali

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Government has set up a high-level committee to draft its own law to ensure that Goods and Services Tax (GST) Act doesn't not infringe upon state's special powers and has decided to hold a special Assembly session to pass GST Bill, an official report says. 'Jammu and Kashmir Government has decided to implement Goods and Service Tax Act in the State and set up a High level Committee to be headed by Financial Commissioner, Planning, Development for drafting legislation which would be tabled before the government, and after clearance, in the Legislature,' reads the Economic Survey report of JK Government which has dedicated a full chapter under the name of 'Constitutional Amendment Act for GST' to this issue. Describing as 'very significant' the decision for implementation of GST in JK, the report states that 'state government has asked the high-powered committee headed by Financial Commissioner (Planning, Development) to draft the legislation within three months by taking into account the special Constitutional position of the State and taxation powers enjoyed by it.' Other members of the High Powered Committee are Commissioner- Secretary Finance Department Navin Choudhary as member secretary, Secretary Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Abdul Majid Bhat and Commissioner, Commercial Taxes Department Pervaz Iqbal Khateeb as its members. The ES report states that Committee has been authorized to call Advocate General of the State as special invitee in the meetings as and when required. The report states that the legislation drafted by the Committee would go to the state Cabinet, and if approved, to the Legislature for final nod before it becomes an Act. 'The State government has deliberated upon the issue and came to the conclusion that it should implement the GST but with the riders so that its constitutional position and special taxation powers are not affected,' the report reads. The committee would go into details of the GST Bill adopted in Rajya Sabha and by some State governments including Bihar and then draft its own Bill by ensuring that its special powers remain intact. The government may call special Assembly session as has been done by the some state governments to pass GST Bill, the report says. GST is a value added tax and is proposed to be a comprehensive indirect tax levied on manufacture, sale and consumption of goods as well as services by the Central and State governments. GST in the state may miss previous deadline of April 1, 2017, set by the central government for its implementation across the country as the GST council, which met in New Delhi a few days back, failed to reach consensus on the issue of dual control over some items. JK is among 8 states which are yet to ratify the GST. The 8 states are JK, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarkhand and West Bengal. The Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on August 3, 2016 and the amendment bill was passed by Lok Sabha on August 8th 2016. The assent from the President was received on September 8, and stood notified in Government Gazette. As many as 23 states have ratified the bill.