Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday requested Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to reduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on ‘kendu’ (tendu) leaves from 18 percent to 5 percent.In a letter to Jaitley, the Chief Minister requested the matter be placed in the next GST Council meeting which could consider reducing the GST on the forest produce.He said the tribals have the right to procure and sell these products.
After the implementation of GST from July 1, 2017, 18% GST is levied on Kendu leaf. In Odisha, prior to implementation of GST, there was 5% VAT on Kendu (Tendu) leaf, Patnaik said.
“This hike from 5% to 18% is very high. Due to such hike in the GST rate, thousands of quintals of kendu leaves are still lying at various godowns. This has led to a drop in selling price of Kendu leaves sold by Odisha Forest Development Corporation Ltd. through tender,” he added.
He said the drop in selling price of Kendu leaves has adversely impacted the implementation of social security and welfare schemes for 8.5 lakh Kendu leaf pluckers, seasonal workers and binding workers engaged in this trade.