Bhubaneswar: Terming sal patra (sal leaf) an integral part of life and culture of tribal population and a major source of livelihood for scores of tribals, Odisha has raised the demand for keeping plates and cups made of sal leaves out of the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
State Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera today wrote a letter to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley proposing to exempt these items out of GST.
Keeping these products out of the GST purview would protect the livelihood of scores of tribals in the state, Behera said.
He had proposed the Centre for the same at the GST Council meeting via video conferencing held last Thursday.
At present, plates and cups made of sal or sialai leaves are exempted under Odisha VAT Act and these items attract no excise duties either. But, these goods are taxable at 18% (CGST-9% and SGST-9%) as per serial no-453 of Scheduled-III Goods, the letter stated.
“These goods are eco-friendly and in the interest of tribal people engaged in eco-friendly economic activities and earning their livelihood. These plates and cups should be exempted from the GST,” Behera demanded.
This apart, the State Finance Minister also urged the Centre to keep ropes made of sabai grass by the tribal people out of GST ambit.
Raising a similar demand, the State had proposed the Centre to keep handloom and handicrafts out of the ambit of the GST.