Sunday, September 24, 2017
 
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GST and Its Politics




By B L Saraf



GST is now a reality in J&K , after State Legislature opened doors for its entry . However , the debate which preceded its entry will not abate . But once relieved of the time constraint , we hope , there will be room for a dispassionate discourse , tampered with rationality , unshackled of the regional biases and free from polemical fireworks . In the pre- entry scenario we observed that , though , the matter had profound economic implications for J&K , yet in the raging debate politics on the tax measure held the centre-stage .


Legal issue is indeed involved . Let the experts deliberate upon . The decision of Supreme Court rendered on SARFAESI Act ( AIR 2017 SC 25 ) may be examined . It could help formulate a view , as Article 370 was discussed to arrive at the decision .



It is the time to have a word on the politics surrounding GST . I N C and NC have joined separatists to oppose the Act . About role of Congress less said the better . In a blind move to oppose the GST the Party felt no qualms to disown its own baby . It is more concerned to thwart PM Modi than about good of the country . Congress party shedding tears on the encroachment of State’s autonomy sounds like “ Devil quoting Scriptures .” Party opened its shop in the State by dispensing with the defining symbols of the State’s autonomy . Substitution of words like Chief Minister for the Prime Minster and of Governor for Sadar-e Riyasaat has been its maiden gift to the people of J& K . This Party must take a stand whether to act national or behave like a Kashmir centric regional party.


NC’s role in opposing introduction of the GST to the State is indeed bewildering . When GST regime was taking shape and made eminently suitable for whole country – including J&K , it was NC’s Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rathar who steered the proceedings - as Chairman of the Empowered Committee of the Finance Ministers . His role to see GST scheme through stands appreciated .



National Conference’s role in subverting autonomy of the state is well recorded . Sheikh Abdullah lost no time to follow the spirit of 42nd Amendment to the Constitution of India , brought about by Indira Gandhi in 1975 , and amended state constitution to extend life of the State Assembly by one year . While as the mischief at the Centre was undone by the Janta Party Government which succeeded Mrs. Gandhi in 1977 and life of Lok- Shaba reverted back to five years , our Assembly continues to have a six year term .



In run up to the Indira –Sheikh Accord of 1975 , Beg – Parthasarthy parleys went on . Mirza Afzal Beg realized that since Union government was providing bulk of the finances to meet the State’s expenditure some financial power had to be conceded to the Union . Sheikh Abdullah agreed with him and the Accord ensued .



It is out dated argument that applicability of GST to the State will erode J &K’s autonomy . The argument has lost the relevance because whole world has become economical and commercially an integrated one . India fell in line in the Nineties of the last century . A new Arbitration and Conciliation law was made in tune with UN CITRAL requirements and made applicable even to J &K . Other commercial laws were fine tuned to meet the international demands . Commercial activity , everywhere , has gone global . So , a law to allow for a uniform tax rate within the country is an inevitability . Even after commercial unification of the world every nation states have retained political and constitutional identity . It could be a case with the states federating with the Indian Union .


It will be foolish to take GST in Kashmir as triumph of ‘ Indian Nationalism’ in the state , as B J P would like to celebrating it . Similarly , there is no reason for people in Kashmir to mourn “ demise of regional autonomy .” It is simple economic measure meant for the benefit of a common man . For the sake of their own credibility , Civil Society members in both regions may understand that is doesn’t pay to be a ‘ rage boy ’ and jump to oppose all and everything which state may devise for the good of its people . A distinction between the politician and a civil society member is highly desirable .





(The author is a Former Principal District & Sessions Judge. Feedback- [email protected] )



(Disclaimer: The views, observations and opinions expressed in above write up of Scoop News are strictly author's own. Scoop News does not take any onus or liability for the veracity, accuracy, validity, completeness, suitability of any of information in the above given write up. The information, facts or figures appearing in the write up in no way manifest the position, standpoint or stance of Scoop News and the Scoop News does not assume any encumbrance or answerability of the same. All disputes are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of competent Courts and Forums in Jammu City Only)



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