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Assam Government Launches Incentive Scheme to Encourage Production of Orthodox, Specialty Teas

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
Tea Garden Worker

On Sunday, the Assam government announced a scheme to encourage the production of orthodox and specialty teas, which are in high demand in international markets and can help planters get better prices.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma highlighted his government's plans for land reforms on tea estates and enhancing the social security network of workers by gradually taking over the existing health and educational institutions of gardens when launching the Assam Tea Industries Special Incentive Scheme (ATISIS) 2020.

“The main goal of this scheme is to strike a balance between CTC tea production and orthodox tea production. In international markets, orthodox tea is in high demand. We can expand our market share if we can increase production,” he said.

"Orthodox and specialty teas make up roughly 11% of the state's yearly tea production, with the balance being CTC variety. The cost of producing orthodox tea per kilogram is 20-25 percent greater than the cost of producing CTC tea, and the ATISIS is expected to help close the gap. The expense of producing orthodox tea is higher, thus assistance is required. This plan was put in place for this purpose,” Sarma explained.

The state government will grant a 3% interest subvention on working capital loans and a Rs 7 per kg subsidy for the production of orthodox and specialty varieties under the ATISIS.

The state government will grant a 3% interest subvention on working capital loans and a Rs 7 per kg subsidy for the production of conventional and specialty varieties under the ATISIS. Furthermore, a 25% subsidy would be provided for the acquisition of new machinery for the development of orthodox and specialty teas.

The scheme, which was approved by the previous BJP-led state government in October last year, also includes a three-year agricultural income tax holiday. The scheme, which was approved by the previous BJP-led state government in October last year, also includes a three-year agricultural income tax vacation. Starting April 1, 2020, the scheme is in effect for three years.

The CM stated that the incentive program will cost Rs 300 crore per year and advised tea companies to file for reimbursement as soon as possible so that the first payments may be given by August.

He also promised that Rs 50 crore will be spent on a campaign and publicity for Assam tea in worldwide markets, and suggested that an international brand ambassador be appointed.

The state administration also intends to implement reform steps to maximize the use of land in tea gardens, according to the chief minister, and will alter current legislation to broaden the scope of such use.

He claimed plans are in the works to progressively take over the current health and educational institutions of estates to improve the tea garden population's social security network.

The event was also attended by Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, Finance Minister Ajanta Neog, Tea Board Chairman Prabhat Bezbaruah, and Indian Tea Association Chairman Vivek Goenka.

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