GUWAHATI, March 13: The ‘Chah Bagicha Dhan Puraskar aru Jeevan Suraksha Yoja’ will encourage tea garden workers to adopt the practice of ‘savings’ in banks and will also greatly help them in getting ‘life insurance’ and ‘accident insurance’ coverage under the Central Government’s schemes, said North Eastern Tea Association (NETA). The payment of insurance premium by the State Government is highly appreciable.
In a statement issued to the press on Tuesday, NETA adviser Bidyanda Barkakoty said that the budget also mentioned paver block roads in tea garden labour lines and smart phones to tea garden line sardars. “It’s a very welcome step that the small tea growers (STGs) are now exempted from paying green leaf cess… Green leaf cess is currently not applicable in any tea growing States of India. The economic condition of the tea industry in Assam has become a cause for great concern and in view of the immense socio-economic importance of this industry in our State, we appeal to the Government of Assam to withdraw green leaf cess payable under the Assam Taxation on Specified Land Act. In Assam, for big growers, the green leaf cess is 0.40 paisa per kg of green leaf,” he said.
According to Barkakoty, the two major tea-growing States – West Bengal and Tamil du – has already withdrawn Agricultural Income Tax on tea cultivation in their states for encouraging economic sustaibility of the tea industry. “We urge upon the Government of Assam to withdraw Agricultural Income Tax on tea. In Assam, Agricultural Income Tax is applicable only on tea,” he said.