Bhubaneswar: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik Tuesday shot of a letter to union finance minister and chairperson of GST Council, Nirmala Sitharaman, demanding withdrawal of GST from Kendu Leaf.
Patnaik in his letter has stated that Imposition of GST (18%) on Kendu (Tendu) Leaves is adversely affecting the Kendu Leaves 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, he has pointed out.
Kendu (Tendu) Leaf which is a Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is the financial backbone of 8 Lakh kendu (Tendu) leaf pluckers, binders and seasonal workers of Odisha. The Kendu Leaf Pluckers and Workers are mostly tribal and women and belong to the poorest of the poor of the society. The tribal people collect the leaves as part of their rights defined under the 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 has stated, 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.