New Delhi: The newly-formed Maharashtra government, led by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, has urged the Centre to exempt products made from non-timber forest produce or bamboo from the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
In the pre-Budget suggestions to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the state government has also pressed for mandatory procurement of bamboo furniture by various departments and agencies working under them.
State Finance Minister Jayant Patil has also proposed to set up special economic zones (SEZs) for forest-based industries with tax holidays and tax concessions.
He has also suggested levying of Green cess on polluting industries. The funds collected through the cess would be used for plantation purposes.
Maharashtra is a hub for manufacturing industries and leading exporter of textiles, ready-made garments, engineering items, drugs and pharmaceuticals, leather products and gems and jewellery among others.
In order to promote eco-tourism in the state, Maharashtra has demanded special industry status to it with tax incentives and tax breaks to encourage investments.
Patil further suggested to include training programs on processing, packaging and value addition of forest products under Skill India programme.
"Provision of scholarship and skill enhancement programme especially for the children of tribals/forest dwellers in forest fringe areas (be made)," the state Finance Minister suggested to Sitharaman.
Among other demands, Maharashtra has urged the Centre to extend Central assistance for farmers so that those affected by unseasonal rains and floods could be helped.
Floods and unseasonal rains in the state have caused massive damage to the life and property of the state. The total financial loss in 26 districts of the state is estimated at about Rs 7,288 crore.