Srinagar, Mar 16: The Jammu and Kashmir Coordination Committee (JKCC), an amalgam of trade, industry, tourism, travel, horticulture and civil society formations, accuses the former Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu of acting as a collaborator for eroding our fiscal autonomy by facilitating extension of GST Act into J&K in most deceitful and illegal manner.
In a meeting held in Srinagar, the JKCC members said that Drabu played a dirty game by divesting us of whatever fiscal powers were left out under Article 370, in his dream to attain greener pastures. The people are not naive to understand the game plan of the ex-minister who previously had openly and vociferously opposed the extension of union Goods and Service Tax law for political reasons. Not only the GST law but the minister also facilitated the applicability of Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement Act (SARFAESI). Before its deceitful introduction of SARFAESI, the said ex-minister is on record to have all along maintained that he would not allow this Act to pass into the state owing to our special status and instead would introduce Asset Reconstruction Company to protect the interests of banks and borrowers. He was also the facilitator to many other laws considered to be detrimental to our special status including that of the Statistical Act.
JKCC criticizes the state government for paying no heed to the repeated reminders of the amalgam about the hidden agenda of Haseeb Drabu and for waking up too late to act against him. He had done much damage to our special status and its economy before the state government got up to show him the door. It is only after he attempted to dilute the disputed political character of Jammu and Kashmir, that the state government smelt his rat and shunted him out.
Besides erosion of fiscal autonomy, the former Finance Minister is also responsible for the present economic mess which has resulted in the strangulation of almost all our economic sectors. His unilaterally taken decisions coupled with “copied and pasted” westernized schemes and policies have brought our economy to the verge of collapse and to a point of no return. Applying policies that are otherwise in vogue in developed countries and places can in no way be applied to conflict and disturbed zones like ours and as such these have created havoc on our already ailing economy.
Elaborating on his peculiar style of dealing, rather playing, with economy, the JKCC pointed out that it started immediately after taking over the department of finance by him when he openly ridiculed the “post floods rehabilitation package recommendations” of 44 thousand Crores by calling it as “unrealistic”. The said recommendations prepared in consultation with the stakeholders had taken due regard to the ground needs of affected sectors. The ex-minister failed in pursuing this package seriously and ended up in obtaining mere 8500 Crores out of which 6500 Crores were meant for public infrastructure. The faulty restructuring and rescheduling of the bank loans, pursued by ex-minister, have proved fatal bringing most of the bank borrowers’ accounts close to declaration of NPAs.
Apart from this, the periodical interventions, unilateral schemes and policies adopted by the ex-minister have not only adversely affected the enterprises but have also resulted in large retrenchments from there adding to the already grim situation on account of unemployment in Kashmir.
For the first time in the history of trade organizations and associations, the ex-minister has been found involved in interfering into their internal affairs and creating break away groups in some of these for his personal interests. He had cunningly created a group of sycophants to sing praises for his impracticable ideas.
JKCC urges the state government to revisit all the schemes, policies rules and regulations put in practice by the said ex-minister in order to undo full or portion of these policies found detrimental to our political and economic interests. The government should also initiate serious and meaningful deliberations on repealing of the GST law and replacing it with state’s own law.