• Notification Date: 22-12-2022
  • Notification No: N/A

BJD MPs Appeals Union Finance Minister for Withdrawal of 18% GST on ‘Kendu’ Leaf Trade

A delegation of BJD Minister of Parliament met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday. The Ministers demanded the withdrawal of 18 percent GST on trade of ‘Kendu’ leaves which is considered as “green gold” of Odisha. 

In their memorandum submitted to the FM, the BJD MPs mentioned that Kendu leaf which is used for wrapping ‘bidis’, is an important non-wood forest product of the state. Around 8 lakh pluckers, binders and seasonal workers, mostly belonging to the tribal community and poor families, are dependent on the trade of the forest produce, the Ministers added. 

The BJD delegation that met Sitharaman in Delhi, comprised Dr Amar Patnaik, Dr Sasmit Patra, Pinaki Misra, Achyut Samanta, Sulata Deo, Niranjini Bishi and Mamata Mahanta. In Odisha, the tribal people collect ‘Kendu’ leaves as part of their rights defined under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. The memorandum said that they have the rights to procure and sell this product. 

The memorandum states that imposition of Goods and Services Tax at 18 per cent is adversely affecting the ‘Kendu’ leaves trade in the state. The delegation of BJD MPs from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha also claimed that if the GST is withdrawn, it will help improve the lives and livelihood of 8 lakh people associated with the trade of ‘Kendu’ leaves. 

It is noteworthy that the GST being levied on the forest produce was a major issue in the recently concluded Padampur bypoll. The ruling party attacked the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre on this matter. 

Previously, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had written to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman appealing for her intervention for the withdrawal of GST on ‘Kendu’ leaves. Odisha’s Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari had also raised the issue in the 48th GST Council meeting held on December 17 and demanded for exemption of the indirect tax on the forest produce.