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Commerce Ministry Suggests Repealing Decades-Old Tea, Coffee, Spices & Rubber Acts

It stated that the primary reason for proposing the repeal of the Tea Act is that there has been a paradigm shift in the last decade in terms of how tea is grown, marketed, and consumed, necessitating the amendment of the existing Act.

Shivam Dwivedi
Picture of Coffee Beans
Picture of Coffee Beans

Commerce Ministry has proposed repealing decades-old laws pertaining to tea, coffee, spices, and rubber - and introducing new legislation - in order to promote the growth of these sectors and create a business-friendly environment.

Proposed Bills:

The ministry has solicited feedback from stakeholders on drafts of the Spices (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022, the Rubber (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022, the Coffee (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022, and the Tea (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022.

The public and stakeholders are invited to provide feedback on these four draft bills by February 9 of this year.

The Department of Commerce has proposed repealing the Tea Act of 1953, the Spices Board Act of 1986, the Rubber Act of 1947, and the Coffee Act of 1942 in four separate office memoranda.

According to the draft bills, which are available on the commerce ministry's website, "it is proposed that" these acts be "repealed and new legislation enacted to reflect the current realities and objectives."

It stated that the primary reason for proposing the repeal of the Tea Act is that there has been a paradigm shift in the last decade in terms of how tea is grown, marketed, and consumed, necessitating amendment of the existing Act.

"The legal regime must be able to address several areas of modern tea board functions, such as production support, quality improvement, tea promotion, and tea grower skill development. Many of these activities were not originally included in the tea board's mandate, but must now be incorporated into its functions and powers "it was added.

According to the draft Spices (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022, the Spices Board needs to be able to provide focused attention across the entire spice supply chain.

Given the emerging quality and food safety requirements in the spice sector, as well as the modern applications of spices in nutraceuticals and natural colours, the draft bill stated that it is critical to direct research support to the spice industry in order to address these issues.

"Furthermore, some of the Act's never used/redundant provisions must be removed, and offences must be decriminalized to facilitate ease of doing business in the spices sector," it added.

The draft bill explained the rationale for repealing the Rubber Act, stating that in recent years, there have been widespread changes in the industrial and economic scenario, particularly with regard to development in the rubber and allied sectors.

"As a result, it has become imperative to remove archaic provisions, create an environment conducive to easy business conduct, reorient functions of the (Rubber) Board with equal focus on upstream and downstream sectors, and contribute to making world class rubber industry," the draft Rubber (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022 stated.

The board's functions must also be expanded in a comprehensive manner.

According to the draft Coffee (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022, the substantive portions of the existing Act dealing with coffee pooling and marketing have become obsolete/inoperative.

It went on to say that the legal framework must also be able to address several areas of modern Coffee Board functions, such as production support, research, quality improvement, coffee promotion, and grower skill development.

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