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Sops continue for tea workers

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 6 - An amount of Rs 3,000 would be given in the bank accounts of the tea garden workers, in addition to the Rs 5,000 already provided in two instalments earlier, as the government continued to shower sops on the tea community ahead of next year�s Assembly elections.

The third tranche of Rs 3000 will benefit 7,21,485 bank account holders, and Finance minister said this initiative will strengthen the government�s efforts to enhance financial inclusion in the tea garden areas and make them less susceptible to falling into debt traps.

An amount of Rs 220 crore has been earmarked in the Budget 2020-21 for this Chah Bagicha Dhan Puraskar scheme.

The wage compensation of Rs 12,000 provided for regular and temporary female tea workers to recover any pay loss they might otherwise face during pregnancy and child birth has been increased to Rs 18,000 to be paid in six instalments.

Further, in the year 2019-20, the government had announced that for developing entrepreneurship among the tea tribes and Adivasi youth, it will provide a one-time grant of Rs 25,000 to help them take up small entrepreneurial activities.

In this current fiscal, a total of 14,000 youth have been selected under this scheme and the fund will be disbursed before March 31. In the coming financial year, the government will extend the benefit to 20,000 youth who will be entitled to get Rs 25,000 each for starting entrepreneurial activities.

Depending on the success of the scheme, the government will also extend this to the earlier beneficiaries as well who will receive another tranche of Rs 25,000 to expand their business activities, Finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in his budget speech.

In order to ensure that the Assam Tea Employees Provident Fund Organisation (ATEPFO) implements the Assam Gratuity Scheme effectively, the State Budget for 2020-21 has made an initial grant of Rs 10 crore. �This will ensure that the tea garden workers will receive an average payment of Rs 50000 as gratuity, based on the length of their service and wage,� the minister said.

The Budget has also allocated Rs 5 lakh for renovation of existing playgrounds located in 100 locations in tea garden areas.

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