Internet gag causes huge dip in GST collection in J&K

A security jawan stands guard in a deserted street of Srinagar. (PTI photo)

The internet gag in Jammu and Kashmir has not only affected the common people severely, it has also caused a huge dip in the revenue collections for the last three months as businessmen have not been able to file GST returns.

Official sources said only around 40% returns due for GSTR 3B have been filed so far. Given that the continuous extension in the date of filing of returns has led to blockade of revenue, there has been a considerable dip in the revenue collection for the past three months, they added.
 
To address the issue, the Finance Department has asked all the deputy commissioners in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to give internet access to the people at the kiosks located in their offices to allow them to file the returns.
 
“Kindly facilitate the filing of GST returns through internet kiosks located in your offices on 20th of this month with necessary safeguards, which is the due date of filing of GST returns,” read the communique, addressed to all the DCs.
 
The internet kiosks have been established in the offices of all DCs to facilitate people in Jammu and Kashmir where the mobile internet connectivity has been snapped since August 5, before abrogation of Article 370 and re-organization of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.
 
“Also, as even the returns for July, August and September have not been filed by all the tax payers, it is requested that the access to the internet kiosks located in your offices may be allowed to the tax filers for at-least 10 days from November 20,” read the communication.
 
Many professionals, dependent on internet, have already gone outside Kashmir, fearing loss of jobs due to their inability to work for the past more than three months. The gag has even frozen some of the government of India’s flagship programmes. 
 
While the internet being cut off is not new in Kashmir, this is the longest-ever blockage the region has ever witnessed. In 2016, when Kashmir saw five months of protests and unrest, the internet was blocked only for 10 days.

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