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Bhubaneswar, June 27 – Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has again urged Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to withdraw the 18 per cent GST imposed on kendu leaves.
The CM wrote that kendu leaf, a Minor Forest Produce (MFP) is the financial backbone of about 8 lakh kendu leaf pluckers, binders and seasonal workers of Odisha who mostly belong to the tribal community and are the poorest of the poor of society.
The tribal people collect the leaves as part of their right 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, he said.
Imposition of GST (18 per cent) on kendu (tendu) leaves is adversely affecting the kendu leaves trade, he said.
It also affects the livelihood of kendu leaf pluckers, binders and seasonal workers and implementation of social security and welfare schemes for them, the Chief Minister said in his letter.
Patnaik urged the GST Council Chairperson to withdraw the GST imposed on kendu leaves for the greater interest of Odisha.
In November 2022, the Chief Minister had written a letter to the Union Finance Minister on the same demand. The state Finance Minister has also raised this demand before the GST Council several times.
In December last, a delegation of BJD MPs met Sitharaman in New Delhi and raised the demand.