A woman plucking leaves in a tea garden in Assam. (File Photo)
A woman plucking leaves in a tea garden in Assam. (File Photo)
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Assam schemes to boost tea sector amid COVID crisis

TNT Bureau

GUWAHATI, SEPT 26, 2020: 

In a major relief to Assam's tea industry amid the pandemic, the state government has announced four schemes aimed to boost the sector, including a push for orthodox and other speciality teas – most of which is exported to foreign markets.

State finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the "four major incentives have been announced following the government's commitment to revive the tea sector of the state."

The initiatives include a three percent interest subvention per year to be provided to those tea gardens which have taken a working capital loan, with an overall cap of Rs 20 lakh.

"Three percent interest subvention will be extended to all the tea gardens on their working capital loans taken from any scheduled commercial bank or a public financial institution," Sarma said.

The minister said that to boost orthodox tea production, a subsidy of Rs seven per kg for "orthodox tea /green tea/white tea/Oolong Tea/Singhpo tea/purple tea/yellow tea/or any other speciality tea manufactured by an industrial unit."

The Tea Board of India already provides a Rs 3 subsidy per kg of 'orthodox tea', accounting for a total subsidy of Rs 10 per kg now for manufacturers of these teas.

"The state government will provide a subsidy of 25 percent of the cost of plant and machinery of orthodox or any other speciality tea subject to a cap of Rs 30 lakh per annum. This will encourage our tea gardens to go for newer plants for orthodox and speciality tea production," he said.

Besides, the fourth initiative for the tea industry includes an exemption from farm income tax under the Agricultural Income Tax Holiday Scheme for three years, which will apply for financial years 2019-20 to 2021-22.

"These incentives will go a long way in sustaining the growth of this important sector, which also uses a sizeable section of our population," the minister said.

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