JK assembly passes GST bill amid Oppn walkout, will come into effect at midnight

The state assembly passed the Jammu and Kashmir Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill in both the houses amid a walkout by Opposition parties. It will come into effect at midnight.

Though the GST was rolled out across India on July 1, its implementation was deferred in Jammu and Kashmir because people feared it would compromise the special status and fiscal autonomy of the state.

Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti hailed the efforts put in by finance minister Haseeb Drabu, who had moved the bill in both houses of the assembly. “This day will be remembered in golden words because we have found something we had lost,” she said.

The chief minister went on to describe the order as an important milestone in the constitutional relationship between the state and the Centre. “For the first time in the state’s history, the Centre sought the concurrence of the state government and the legislature before issuing a presidential order. Through the last 70 years, central laws were extended to the state in a clandestine manner – raising doubts in people’s minds,” she said.

The state assembly had earlier passed a resolution for adopting the GST despite resistance from Opposition parties National Conference and the Congress. Immediately afterwards, the state cabinet cleared a draft GST for the President’s concurrence.

A government spokesperson said Drabu gave a detailed account of the legislation in the assembly. All necessary safeguards to Section 5 of the J&K state constitution and those enshrined in Article 370 of the Indian Constitution have been incorporated in the presidential order, he added.