Assam: Tea industry welcomes orthodox tea subsidy

Guwahati: The tea industry has viewed the enhancement of orthodox incentives by the Assam government from Rs 7 to 10 and now to Rs 12 per kg as a big encouragement in sustaining quality exports and orthodox production.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said it is due to the overwhelming effect of the tea industry on the economy of Assam that the Government of Assam came up with the Assam Tea Industry Special Incentive Schemes to help the sector absorb some of the shocks of the deleterious impact of Covid- 19.

Financial incentives were distributed to around 370 tea gardens under the Assam Tea Industry Special Incentive Schemes 2020 at a function held in Guwahati.

An aggregate of ₹64.05 crore was disbursed to the 370 tea gardens under the Assam Tea Industry Special Incentive Schemes 2020, originally formulated by the Government of Assam.

Elaborating on its components, the Chief Minister said apart from providing interest subvention of 3% on working capital loans of tea gardens, the promotion of production of orthodox tea over traditional crush-tear-curl (CTC) tea has also been accorded due attention.

” It is with this aim that under Assam Tea Industry Special Incentive Schemes, a subsidy of ₹10 per kilogram of orthodox and other special varieties of tea have been incorporated, the Chief Minister said. To mark the 200th anniversary of tea production in the state, an additional ₹2 for per kilogram of orthodox tea has been fixed for the financial year 2023-24, the Chief Minister added.

The programme was attended, amongst others, by Nayantara Palchoudhuri – Chairperson, Indian Tea Association Arijit Raha – Secretary General, Indian Tea Association and Abhijit Sharma – Secretary, Assam Branch Indian Tea Association (ABITA).

Speaking on the occasion, Nayantara Palchoudhuri expressed her deep gratitude to the Government of Assam led by Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma for extending benefits to the tea industry under ATISIS covering orthodox production incentives, the interest subvention of working capital loan, Agricultural income tax holidays and subsidy on investments on orthodox and speciality tea machinery. The scheme has been immensely beneficial to tea companies at a time when the industry is passing through acute financial stress.

Assam’s orthodox production in 2022 was approximately 80 million kgs – an increase of around 30 million kgs from the 2020 levels.

” The increase in orthodox production had an overall positive impact on India’s tea exports which registered an increase from a level of 196 million kgs in 2021 to 226 million kgs in 2022. This increase of 30 million kgs has been totally contributed by North India where exports have increased from 114 mkgs in 2021 to 144 mkgs in 2022,” said Nayantara Palchoudhuri – Chairperson, Indian Tea Association.

She said the enhancement of orthodox incentive from Rs 7 to 10 and now to Rs 12 per kg would further encourage sustaining quality exports and orthodox production.

She said the proposed export incentive of Rs 5/- per kg under the Assam Tea Policy, 2022 merits consideration for immediate implementation to mitigate the high transportation and terminal handling charges.

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” The announcements in this year’s State budget for promotion of Assam tea in select global destinations to commemorate 200 hundred years of Assam Tea is a welcome initiative,” she said adding that some of the other Budget announcements covering improvement of education infrastructure in tea garden areas, water supply, enhancement of compensation for pregnant women of tea garden areas reflect the reforms oriented approach of the Assam Government.

Also Read | Assam Assembly passes Budget for 2023-24

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