Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has once again requested the GST Council to withdraw goods and services tax on Kendu (Tendu leaves). In November too, he made a similar request.
In a letter to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who also happens to be the chairperson of GST Council, Odisha CM has stated tendu leaves, which are a Minor Forest Produce (MFP), is the financial backbone of 8 Lakh workers in his state. He added the imposition of 18 per cent GST on tendu leaves is adversely affecting its trade.
“This in turn affects the livelihoods of Kendu leaves pluckers, binders and seasonal workers and implementation of social security and welfare schemes for them,” the letter read.
“In the interest of a large section of the people dependent upon Kendu (Tendu) leaves for their livelihood, it is, therefore, once again requested to withdraw the imposition of GST on Kendu (Tendu) leaves for the greater interest of the State of Odisha,” it added.
Tendu leaves are widely used in making bidis.
The request from Odisha CM comes a fortnight ahead of the GST Council meeting, to be held on July 11 in the national capital.
It will be the 50th meeting of the Council. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who heads the Council, will chair the meeting. The 49th meeting of the Council was held on February 18, 2023.
Goods and Services Tax was introduced in the country with effect from July 1, 2017, and states were assured compensation for loss of any revenue arising on account of its implementation as per the provisions of the GST (Compensation to States) Act, 2017 for a period of five years.