GUWAHATI: On Friday Assam Budget 2020-2021 was hailed by the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA), The Joint Forum of Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA), and Bharatiya Cha Parishad (BCP). The budget was presented by Finance Minister Hemanta Biswa Sarma.
The budget was applauded by the tea industry for undertaking measures to ensure Assam's central position in the global tea industry.
A huge impetus was given to orthodox tea production by announcing a subsidy of Rs 7 per kg for production of orthodox tea. The subsidy ' will cover 50 percent of the price gap from International prices'. The Government will also announced the withdrawal of agricultural income tax for 3 years and a 3 percent interest subvention on all terms of loans and working capital loans.
Sarma said the tea mission would provide incentives to boost orthodox tea production and would also be a relief to the entire tea industry.
“The tea industry in Assam accounts for 51 percent of the total tea produced in India and 11.7 percent of the global tea production. It is also the largest employer of women, in the organized sector. Of late, the tea industry is going through a crisis. While on the one hand, the cost of production has increased because of wage revisions and increased cost of utilities among other reasons, tea prices have remained stagnant due to over-production and a mismatch in the demand-supply equilibrium" he said.
He also added, "Many tea estates and manufacturing units have turned sick and major players in the industry are finding it difficult to honor their dues, whether to employees, financial institutions or suppliers.”
NETA adviser, Bidyananda Barkakoty welcomed the announcements.
“However, we appeal to the finance minister to include Green Tea, White Tea, Purple Tea, Yellow Tea, Oolong Tea, and all other specialty teas under the Rs 7 per kg subsidy scheme so that small tea growers engaged in the production of specialty teas can also avail the scheme,” he told media.
The joint forum of the tea organizations said, “The finance minister has also announced many benefits for tea garden workers which we welcome."