GUWAHATI, April 27: The North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) has moved the 15th Finance Commission with the plea that the 40 paisa cess per kg of green tea leaf being levied in the State be subsumed in the GST.
Submitting a memorandum to the 15h FC chairman on Friday, the NETA has said that the Assam Government levies a green leaf cess at the rate of 40 paisa per kg of green leaf for big plantations under the Assam Taxation on Specified Land Act. Citing latest Tea Board statistics, the NETA has said that small growers produce 40 per cent of the State's green leaf. With the recent Budget withdrawing cess on green leaf for small growers, in essence, the green leaf cess is applicable only on 60 per cent of the total green leaf produced in the State, the NETA said. "We, therefore, appeal to the Commission that this green leaf cess of 40 paisa per kg of green leaf be subsumed in the GST," the NETA said.
The NETA has also appealed to the Commission to allot sufficient funds for promotion of tea in India and more particularly from Assam Tea. "Even after achieving a record export of 241 million kg tea in 2017, the prices of tea at the farm gate level have not increased. There's a mismatch in demand and supply," the NETA said, and added that the need of the hour is to put all efforts to increase the demand.
"India has a huge domestic market for tea – 85 per cent of the production is consumed domestically. But the per capita consumption of tea in India is very low compared to many other tea drinking nations. There is every likelihood of generic promotion of tea in the domestic market increasing the per capita consumption of tea," the NETA told the Commission, and added: "We, hereby, appeal to the Commission to allot sufficient funds for promotion of tea in India and more particularly for Assam tea. This single step will help the entire population dependent upon this industry – employees, employers, small growers and others."