GUWAHATI, Sept 11 - The North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) has urged the Union Minister of State (Independent) for Commerce and Industry to delete the export-related condition of the criteria set for availing the Quality Upgradation and Product Diversification (QUPD) Scheme under the Tea Board�s schemes, in the greater interest of the tea industry and the trade.
The Union Minister had on May 17 this year announced the Central Government�s approval to an allocation of Rs 1,425 crore for implementation of the Tea Board�s scheme during the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) with the above condition slapped for availing the benefits of the QUPD Scheme, which is the most popular of the Tea Board schemes.
The 12th Five Year Plan for the Tea Board has seven components and the QUPDS is one of them.
Out of the total allocation of Rs 1,425 crore for the Tea Board schemes, the gross expenditure earmarked for the QUPDS this time is Rs 350 crore, which is about 25 per cent of the total outlay. But to avail the benefit of the QUPDS, the Union Government has this time slapped, among the 22 conditions, the condition of �Documentary proof to the effect that the factory has exported 20 per cent of the total produce made in the application year (except new unit which will give an undertaking to that effect)�.
Due to the above condition, it will be almost impossible for 90 per cent of the Assam tea factories belonging to both estate and bought leaf categories, to avail the QUPD Scheme this time, said the NETA.
It also maintained that the tea producers located in West Bengal and South India may also find it difficult to avail the QUPD Scheme this time, if the above eligibility criterion is not withdrawn.