The GST Council meeting recently rejected Odisha’s demand for tax exemption on kendu leaf.

Key Points :- 

  • Odisha has been demanding Kendu Leaves to be listed under the exempted items.
  • Raising the demand for an immediate rollback of 18 percent (pc) GST on Kendu leaf at the meeting, Odisha reasoned that 28% tax is already imposed on bidi, the finished product of kendu leaf.
  • The double taxation is affecting the pluckers, over 90 pc of whom are tribals, besides the blinders and seasonal workers.
  • The 18 pc GST is against the Forest Rights Act, 2006, and PESA Act, 1996.

Kendu Leaves (Diospyros Melanoxylon) :-

  • Kendu Leaf is a species of flowering tree in the family Evenaceae. It is native to India and Sri Lanka.
  • Kendu Leaf is called the green gold of Odisha. It is one of the most important non-wood forest products of Odisha.
  • It is nationalised product like bamboo and sal seed. It is one of the most important non-wood forest products in Odisha.

States Producing Kendu Leaves :-

  •  The states producing bidi leaves in India comprises mainly Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
  • Odisha is the third-largest producer of kendu leaf, after Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. 


Features :- 


  • The Uniqueness of Odisha’s kendu leaf is in processed form, whereas the rest of the states in India produces in Phal Form.
  • In processed form, the Kendu leaves are graded into different qualities that are Grade I to Grade IV as per the specification of color, texture, size, and body conditions of the leaf.
  • Leaves of tree species Diospyros melanoxyion are used as wrappers of tabacco to produce bidi.
  • Traditional medical practitioners use Kendu Leaves to treat malaria, diarrhoea and dysentery. Due to their antimicrobial properties, the leaves are applied to cuts and bruises as well.
  • A minor forest produce, is the financial backbone of about eight lakh leaf pluckers, binders and seasonal workers of the Odisha state. They mostly belong to the tribal community and poorest of the poor in society. 



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