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Tea sector upbeat over proposals

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GUWAHATI, Feb 7 - The tea industry of the State has hailed the budget, presented by Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the State Assembly here today, as a highly commendable one.

Northeastern Tea Association (NETA) advisor and Tea Board of India vice chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty told this newspaper that the Finance Minister�s announcement that an amount of Rs 287 crore would be allocated for the 6.5 lakh tea garden workers who have opened bank accounts to strengthen financial inclusion, is highly commendable. The government has proposed to pay Rs 5,000 to each of these tea garden workers, who number 6.5 lakh.

Moreover, Barkakoty said the green leaf cess for the small tea growers (STGs) has been proposed to be reduced to 10 paisa per kg with effect from April 1, 2017. This is also a very welcome step. In the interim budget placed by the Finance Minister last time, this cess had been reduced to 15 paisa per kg from the previous 25 paisa per kg, Barkakoty said.

The Finance Minister in his budget speech announced that the government is committed to removing the cess on green tea leaves completely over a period of time.

The Finance Minister also proposed to provide a unique incentive to the STGs for settling of land after fixing a nominal amount of premium of Rs 1,000 per bigha for the existing small tea gardens and also for the future startup STGs. However, for the purpose, the STGs would have to register themselves with the Tea Board of India and have the land holding up to 30 bighas only.

He further said that a training and research centre will be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 17 crore. Funds for this will be drawn out of the cess fund available, he said.

An amount of Rs 1,000 lakh has been earmarked for providing incentive to the STGs at the rate of Rs 5,000 per bigha for new plantations being developed by the STGs by bringing uncultivable fallow lands under cultivation. The Minister further said that the government is �keen to unleash the monetary value of land under cultivation� by the STGs, Barkakoty said.

However, the NETA advisor made an appeal to the government in this connection to reduce the green leaf cess levied on the big tea growers to 25 paisa per kg from the existing 40 paisa per kg.

Further, he said since the Union Government has already issued a notification allowing the STGs to set up mini tea factories, the State Government should provide one-time seed money at the rate of 25 per cent of the project costs to each of the STGs or their groups, who intend to set up such factories.

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Tea sector upbeat over proposals

GUWAHATI, Feb 7 - The tea industry of the State has hailed the budget, presented by Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the State Assembly here today, as a highly commendable one.

Northeastern Tea Association (NETA) advisor and Tea Board of India vice chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty told this newspaper that the Finance Minister�s announcement that an amount of Rs 287 crore would be allocated for the 6.5 lakh tea garden workers who have opened bank accounts to strengthen financial inclusion, is highly commendable. The government has proposed to pay Rs 5,000 to each of these tea garden workers, who number 6.5 lakh.

Moreover, Barkakoty said the green leaf cess for the small tea growers (STGs) has been proposed to be reduced to 10 paisa per kg with effect from April 1, 2017. This is also a very welcome step. In the interim budget placed by the Finance Minister last time, this cess had been reduced to 15 paisa per kg from the previous 25 paisa per kg, Barkakoty said.

The Finance Minister in his budget speech announced that the government is committed to removing the cess on green tea leaves completely over a period of time.

The Finance Minister also proposed to provide a unique incentive to the STGs for settling of land after fixing a nominal amount of premium of Rs 1,000 per bigha for the existing small tea gardens and also for the future startup STGs. However, for the purpose, the STGs would have to register themselves with the Tea Board of India and have the land holding up to 30 bighas only.

He further said that a training and research centre will be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 17 crore. Funds for this will be drawn out of the cess fund available, he said.

An amount of Rs 1,000 lakh has been earmarked for providing incentive to the STGs at the rate of Rs 5,000 per bigha for new plantations being developed by the STGs by bringing uncultivable fallow lands under cultivation. The Minister further said that the government is �keen to unleash the monetary value of land under cultivation� by the STGs, Barkakoty said.

However, the NETA advisor made an appeal to the government in this connection to reduce the green leaf cess levied on the big tea growers to 25 paisa per kg from the existing 40 paisa per kg.

Further, he said since the Union Government has already issued a notification allowing the STGs to set up mini tea factories, the State Government should provide one-time seed money at the rate of 25 per cent of the project costs to each of the STGs or their groups, who intend to set up such factories.

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