Former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) chief, Farooq Abdullah, on Saturday said that the Article 370 of the Constitution of India and Section 5 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir have been diluted with implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in the state and accused the ruling PDP-BJP of trying to mislead people on the issue.
Abdullah told mediapersons that the apprehensions and concerns expressed by the NC and other stakeholders about the implementation of the GST regime in the state had not been addressed at all in the Presidential Order issued on Friday.
He said that by virtue of the Presidential Order the Centre has been given vast powers to make laws on the sales of goods and services in the State which hitherto was the sole domain of the State Legislature.
The PDP is giving much hype to the provision in the Presidential Order which mentions that the powers of the State of Jammu and Kashmir as per Section 5 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir shall remain intact. While the Presidential Order has robbed Section 5 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir of its content and substance viz-a-viz the exclusive domain of the State Legislature to tax goods and services within the State, a mere rhetorical certification of its continuance is a glaring contradiction and is aimed at fooling the people of the State, Abdullah said.
The former finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather pointed out that the State BJP President, Sat Sharma, has publicly expressed his party’s happiness over their sense of ideological victory by saying the extension of GST regime to the State was a ‘beginning of the process of complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union of India, as widely reported by the media. This has exposed the hollow claims of the ruling PDP-BJP dispensation that the extension of GST regime to J&K was purely a taxation matter and had nothing to do with the politics and the identity of the State.
Rather said it had been a consistent stand of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference that extension of GST to J&K at the cost of the State’s Fiscal Autonomy and Special Status would not be acceptable – as was made abundantly clear by the party’s representatives in every single All Party and Consultative Group’s meetings held on this issue.