Jairam Ramesh accuses BJP of exploiting tribals in Odisha through GST

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Bhubaneswar, (Reporterspen), May 20: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertook an extensive campaign in Odisha, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh seized the moment to criticize him and the BJP-led Central government, particularly over their handling of tribals and the poor in the state through GST.

In a social media post, Ramesh described the GST implemented by the Modi government as one of India’s most poorly designed and exploitative tax structures. He emphasized the detrimental impact of the 18% GST levied on Kendu leaves, a vital resource for Odisha’s Adivasi and forest-dwelling communities.
Highlighting what he termed as the BJP’s anti-Adivasi stance, Ramesh contrasted the 1.5% GST on diamonds with the 18% GST on Kendu leaves, illustrating a skewed tax regime that burdens the vulnerable while benefiting the affluent.

Labeling Modi and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as two sides of the same coin, Ramesh accused the BJP’s ally, the BJD, of failing to exert pressure to revise the GST rate on Kendu leaves.

Ramesh further criticized the Modi government for allegedly burdening India’s poorest 50% with 67% of GST payments, questioning the Prime Minister’s preference for exploiting the financially vulnerable while granting tax concessions to wealthy associates.

In a scathing assessment of the BJP and BJD, Ramesh denounced their official seat-sharing negotiations, alleging collusion between the supposed opposition parties. He claimed that despite their professed opposition stance, the two parties have consistently collaborated, with BJD MPs supporting contentious bills in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha over the past decade, including no-confidence motions.

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