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UPASI Demands More Funds for Plantation Sector in Union Budget 2023-24

The United Planters' Association of Southern India (UPASI) has urged Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to consider increasing allocations for the plantation sector in the Union Budget 2023-24, citing the urgent need for increased research funding.

Shivam Dwivedi
Plantation sector is crucial as it employs, particularly women, particularly in backward regions.
Plantation sector is crucial as it employs, particularly women, particularly in backward regions.

The plantation sector has suffered due to significant reductions in funds allocated to commodity boards in previous budgets, as the boards cannot implement developmental schemes and disburse dues to growers under various schemes.

In 2022-23, the Tea Board received 131.92 crores, compared to 353.65 crores in the revised estimate for 2021-22.

According to UPASI's pre-budget memorandum, the plantation sector is critical to the economy because of the large workforce it employs, particularly women, particularly in backward regions.

It will be challenging to pique interest and attract new investments in the sector unless there is guaranteed stability, according to UPASI president Jefry Rebello.

Export benefits under the RoDTEP scheme should be set at 5% for plantation commodities such as tea, coffee, cardamom, and pepper and 7% for value-added plantation commodities. The import duty on compound rubber should be increased to 25% from 10%.

It sought implementation of the Inter-Ministerial Committee recommendation of sharing social costs 50:50 between employers and the Central and State Governments.

According to the report, this recommendation was very constructive and will go a long way toward providing relief to the sector.

The government could assist by sharing the social costs of the plantations, as it has done in other sectors.  According to UPASI, one of the main reasons that the Indian plantation sector cannot compete with other producing countries is the high cost of production, which is directly related to social costs that do not exist in any other competing producing countries.

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