Cut GST as Beedis exported to Europe, Gulf and US

CHENNAI: According to officials at a panel discussion, Indian beedis are exported to a various of countries, necessitating a reduction in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate on the product from the current 28 percent.

Beedis are sold from India to the Gulf countries, Singapore, the West Indies, the Netherlands, France, and even the United States, according to industry officials.  The panellists, however, representing various walks of life, argued for a reduction in the GST rate.

According to them, the 28 percent tax rate has caused beedi manufacturing to shift from organised to unorganised, harming women workers and other marginalised groups by depriving them of advantages like as Provident Fund contributions, paid leave, bonus, gratuity, insurance, and so on.

Dr. Ashwani Mahajan, National Convener of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, said during a panel discussion: "The industry and the labour are both harmed by the high GST on beedis. In India, the production of beedis employs between 90 lakh and one crore people. The majority of the workers are women who live in Maoist-controlled areas with few other job options." He believes that lowering the tariff on beedi is vital, or else the industry will face inexpensive cigarette imports from China.

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