Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu today said a "false propaganda" of dilution of state's fiscal autonomy has been raised by vested interests to distort the genuine debate over bringing the state under the ambit of Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime.
"Far from eroding the special constitutional position, we are seeking to empower the legislative assembly of the state. If our government has any malafide intent, why would we bring it to the assembly for debate," Drabu said while reacting to opposition to GST from various quarters including the National Conference.
The state finance minister said never before in the history of J&K has the extension of a Constitutional Amendment of the Constitution of India to J&K been taken to the state assembly for deliberations.
"Around 46 amendments have been extended through Presidential order to J&K which have gradually eroded the special Constitutional position of J&K," he said.
"While it is true that J&K's Constitution gives us comprehensive legislative powers, the core of our special position is the powers of the legislative assembly. It is this institution of legislature that we are seeking to re-empower as it has been diluted over a period of time," he added.
Drabu said instead of resorting to rhetoric, the opposition should come forward with a constructive roadmap on how they would like to go about implementing the new tax regime while safeguarding J&K's fiscal autonomy.
He said the debate on GST is being distorted through false propaganda peddled by vested interests.
"Without even knowing what the modifications were being proposed or suggesting what modifications can be made to the Constitutional Amendment 101 in its application to J&K, a false bogey of dilution of fiscal autonomy has been raised by some political parties to serve their own political interests," he said.
Drabu said the opposition political party is now using various other political quarters, civil society groups and business community to whip up passions over the GST issue to suit its vested political interests.
Regretting the attitude of the opposition political parties, Drabu said they could have played a constructive role and given their suggestions to modify the Constitutional Amendment 101.
"If (former Finance Minister Abdul Rahim) Rather, as he claims, has a blue print which he had worked out in 2012, what prevented him from placing it before the empowered committee of GST of which he was the chairman? Had he done so, it would have been incorporated in the amendment itself," he said.
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