Youngsters use puppets to spread awareness on gender issues in Assam tea gardens
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Guwahati: The Assam government on Wednesday proposed the continuation of tax exemption on green tea leaves for three years and incentives for orthodox production for one more year.

It also proposed infrastructure development support for tea tourism, besides various measures for improving educational and other facilities for tea tribe workers and their families.

Presenting the state budget for 2022-23 in the assembly, Finance Minister Ajanta Neog said the levy and payment of tax on green leaves for a period of three years with effect from January 1, 2019, till December 31, 2021, was kept in abeyance, taking into consideration of problems plaguing the tea industry.

Now, I propose to extend this exemption for a further period of three years from 1st January, 2022,” she said.

Neog also proposed to continue with the Assam Tea Industries Special Incentives Scheme (ATSIS) for the next year.

The ATSIS, under which Rs 45 crore has been sanctioned till now as interest subvention, production and capital subsidy was brought in 2021 to ensure long term financial sustainability of the tea industry and to increase orthodox tea production.

The finance minister also assured the industry of government support in building infrastructure in gardens to promote tourism.

Assam is home to one of the oldest and best tea gardens in the world. Some of these estates are located in picturesque surroundings with the potential to become great tourist destinations, she said.

Identifying accessibility and lack of lodging facilities around the tea gardens as a hindrance for tourism, Neog said, We propose to provide capital infrastructure support for building guest houses/tourist facility inside the tea garden up to Rs 2 crore each to 50 selected estates during 2022-23 to promote tea tourism.”

The estate authorities will also be permitted to undertake non-tea cultivation activities such as agroforestry, solar power projects, etc. which will also add to their income, she said.

The finance minister said the government is working out a disinvestment strategy for Assam Tea Corporation Ltd to relieve the people from their long-standing uncertainties.

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