If implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a big win of prime minister Narendra Modi and his team led by finance minister Arun Jaitley on the economic reform front, the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly’s adoption of GST resolution on Wednesday is a huge success in terms of making the concept of ‘one tax’ a reality across the country.
It is, in fact, a historic achievement with regard to the handling of Jammu and Kashmir, which will help in tackling the problems of the state in an integrated manner.
Though the credit must go to the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed for the passage of the landmark tax reform in the special session after heated debate in the assembly, it is the effort of FM Jaitley that has clinched this success.
While the Central government kept Jammu and Kashmir actively involved in all the discussions related to the GST, his letter to the state chief minister ahead of the GST launch on July 1, explaining the implications of not joining it for the state’s economy and business, that ensured the speedy action.
FM Jaitley had pointed out that, “….in case Jammu and Kashmir is not able to introduce GST from July 1, 2017, it may lead to….
(a) A general increase in prices in the State of all goods being purchased from other States and
(b) Increase in the price of all goods being sold from the State of Jammu and Kashmir to other States which shall have an adverse impact on domestic industry in the State.”
By deciding to adopt GST, though a little delayed, the state government has killed the possibility of its trade and industry getting subjected to competitive disadvantage with other states.
Given that the GST resolution has ensured that the special status of Jammu and Kashmir will not get affected by any manner due to this, it should quell any apprehensions on this count, but there is no doubt that the opposition parties and many others in the state will use this as a rallying point against the move.
PM Modi and FM Jaitley, therefore, must also reassure the people of Jammu and Kashmir that there is no major change in terms of handling of the state by the Central government because of the implementation of GST.
A smooth introduction and running of GST in Jammu and Kashmir is as much the responsibility of the state government as it is that of the Central government.