Srinagar: – Dr. Haseeb Ahmed Drabu, the finance minister of Jammu and Kashmir, has set an immediate target to achieve as many registrations possible for businesses under the newly implemented Goods and Services Tax (GST) from 1st July 2017.

Dr. Haseeb Ahmed Drabu in a meeting that was held has asked his district administrators to work as efficiently as possible and get the smooth implementation of the new tax regime in J&K, which would eventually benefit the consumers altogether.

The finance minister commented and was of the opinion that the Government officials must take all the traders, businesspeople and consumers on board as to have a swift transition from value added tax (VAT) to goods and service tax (GST).

He has asked the district administrators to try and achieve these targets by mid of August by creating awareness through the awareness camps and orientation programs among people on the benefits of GST.

The meeting was attended by various senior officers including the chief secretary, principal secretary home, and commissioner secretary finance. Dr. Drabu, the finance minister of J&K, is of the opinion that the registration for GST is like getting a business identification number that will make the trade stronger and help the businessmen and traders establish a firm hold in their respective industries and sectors.

He believes that the transition from VAT to GST would take nearly six to eight months and the use of various platforms such as TV, radio, newspapers and social media would help clarify the misconceptions and misunderstandings regarding GST.

The state government has proposed to use the Khidmat centres as the GST centres for local traders so that the transition could be easier. This move would also curb the unnecessary exploitation of the small traders who are not tech savvy and would demand some technical help as a part of the GST.

He added that one of the biggest apprehensions or the reason why people have shown reluctance was that a businessman needs to file three returns per month, which ideally is not the case. The actual reality though is that the person needs to file only one return per month with the other two being auto generated. The traders are not required to have an internet connection for the entire month as the online uploading of the documents is expected not to take more than 10 minutes.

The sub divisional officers for each sector have been asked to submit weekly reports regarding the number of registrations in their respective divisions and have been asked to conduct surveys for all the industries, especially the ones that were not covered under the earlier tax regime like the textile and the sugar industry.

Dr. Drabu also responded to the various concerns of the traders regarding the inventory stocks and their request for input credit on the existing stock. He said that the government is exploring different ways as to how this issue could address. Also, the commercial tax department is expected to conduct workshops in all the districts so that everyone is familiar with the new accounting methods of the new tax regime i.e. the GST.