Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley urging the latter to reduce GST levied on Kendu leaves from 18 percent to 5 percent.
“Kendu (Tendu) leaf, a Minor Forest Produce (MFP), is the financial lifeline of the tribal people of Odisha. The tribal people collect the leaves as part of their right defined under Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. They have the right to procure and sell these products.” the CM wrote in the letter to Jaitley.
“After the implementation of GST w.e.f. 1st July, 2017, 18% GST is levied on Kendu (Tendu) leaf. In Odisha, prior to implementation of GST, there was 5% VAT on Kendu (Tendu) leaf. This hike from 5% to 18% is very high. Due to such hike in the GST rate, thousands of quintals of Kendu (Tendu) leaves are still lying at different godowns. This has led to drop in selling price of Kendu (Tendu) leaves sold by Odisha Forest Development Corporation Ltd. through tender, which has adversely impacted the implementation of social security and welfare schemes for 8.5 lakh Kendu (Tendu) leaf pluckers, seasonal workers and binding workers engaged in this trade.” Patnaik wrote.
“In the interest of large cross section of the people dependent upon Kendu (Tendu) leaves for their livelihood, it is requested to place the matter in the next meeting of GST Council and consider to reduce GST on Kendu (Tendu) leaves from 18% to 5%,” he concluded.