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Industry hails tea-related proposals

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 30 - The State tea industry has welcomed the tea-related proposals put forward by Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the State Budget for the fiscal year, 2016-17. However, it has called for abolition of the agricultural income tax for small tea growers having land holding up to 75 bighas.

In a statement here recently, Bidyananda Barkakoty, leading tea planter, Tea Board of India vice chairman and advisor to the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA), said that the proposals to develop 40 new mobile medical units for tea garden areas, amnesty scheme for green leaf cess and agricultural income tax, bringing down green leaf cess of small tea growers from 25 paise to 15 paise per kg of green leaf, water facilities in each tea garden with a subsidy of 25 per cent, 50 per cent and 75 per cent to the better, medium and weak tea estates respectively, Rs 6 crore for a tea museum in Dibrugarh, to exempt small tea growers, having income up to Rs 2.5 lakh per annum, from the purview of agricultural income tax are the most welcome ones.

�We welcome all the above proposals put forward in the Budget. However, we appeal to the Government to abolish the agricultural income tax for small tea growers having land holding up to 75 bighas,� he added.

He further said that the Revenue Insurance Scheme for Plantation Crops (RISPC) should be rolled out immediately for tea growers. The RISPC is an insurance scheme to protect growers from fluctuations in yield as well as in prices. The Central Government share is 75 per cent, State Government has a share of 15 per cent and the growers have a share of 10 per cent in this scheme, he said.

�We also appeal to the Government to make tax clearance certificates and road permits online without any further delay,� Barkakoty said.

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