Bhubaneshwar (Odisha) [India], November 26 (ANI): Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has requested the Centre to withdraw goods and services tax on Kendu (Tendu leaves).
In a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Patnaik said tendu leaf, a Minor Forest Produce, is the financial backbone of about 8 lakhs individuals, binders and seasonal workers of Odisha and mostly belongs to the tribal community and poorest of the poor of the society.
"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 letter read.
Tendu leaves are widely used in making bidis.
Odisha CM said the imposition of 18 per cent GST on the leaves adversely affects their 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 added.
"In the interest of livelihoods of the Kendu leaves dependent community it is urged upon to withdraw the imposition of GST on Kendu leaves for the greater interest of the State of Odisha."
The GST Council will next meet on December 17, 2022, in a virtual format.
"The 48th Meeting of the GST Council will be held on 17th December, 22022 by video conference," the GST Council tweeted late Friday evening.
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman is the chairperson of the Council.
The 47th meeting was held in late June 2022, in Chandigarh. (ANI)