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India's GST and Bamboo Sector

India has launched its most awaited and advanced tax reform by introducing GST (Goods and Service Tax) this week. Prior to the introduction of GST, States used to determine their own tax rates for the produce of their states but now there would be the same rate for a product nationwide. All the sectors are going to be effected by GST in one way or other. And uniform rates are going to affect the bamboo sector too.

Sr. No. Category Tax Rate
1 Charcoal (Wood and Bamboo both) Nill
2 Musical Instruments (Indigenous Handmade) Nill
3 Medicinal Products of Bamboo (Unprocessed) 5%
4 Bamboo Vegetable Products 5%
5 Bamboo Matings 12%
6 Handicraft Items 12%
7 Bamboo Plaits / Baskets/ wickerwork etc. 12%
8 Medicinal Products of Bamboo (Processed) 12%
9 Bamboo Mat Boards 18%
10 Bamboo Plywood 18%
11 Bamboo Flooring 18%
12 Activated Carbon (All Types including Bamboo) 18%
13 Musical Instruments (Others) 28%
  • Bamboo Plywood and Mat Boards: Bamboo Boards are placed in the category of 18% bracket of tax. Whereas the other similar products get different treatment. Such as Particle Boards / Bagasse Boards/ Rice Husk Boards etc are taxed at 12%. And Plywood, veneered panels and similar laminated wood are taxed @ 28%.
  • Bamboo Flooring is Taxed @ 18 % along with other wooden flooring varieties whereas ceramic flooring is taxed @ 28%.
  • Handicraft items which were exempt from tax previously are now taxed @ 12%.
  • Products which gets no special treatment and would be taxed at par with their wood counterparts are:
    • Medicinal products.
    • Activated Carbon.
    • Charcoal
    • Handicraft Items
    • Clothing
    • Vegetable Products
    • Plaiting Products/ Basket / Wickerworks
    • Furniture and Similar Products
    • Musical Instruments
India has taken the initiative of promoting bamboo and has a national level policy for bamboo. It has also set up a national level bamboo mission and its state-level bodies in bamboo rich states. Still, we are unable to see a tax benefit which benefits the bamboo sector. We hope the Indian government will introduce more programs to boost the bamboo industry and thus the green future.

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