Tea planters urge finance commission to provide fund for promotion of tea
Tea planters in Assam urge the 15th finance commission to provide fund for generic promotion of tea.
15th Finance Commission visited Assam and tea planters stated Assam produces 53% of the country’s tea and 13% of world’s tea. Livelihood of a sizeable population of Assam depends upon tea industry – more particularly, about ten lakhs workers and more than one lakh small tea grower’s livelihood are directly dependent upon this industry.
Adviser of North Eastern Tea Association(NETA) Bidyananda Barkakoty said it is a matter of great concern that even after achieving a record export figure of 241 million kgs in 2017, the prices of tea at the farm gate level has not increased. There is a mismatch in demand and supply. Therefore it is the need of the hour to put all efforts to increase the demand.
He said that India has a huge domestic market for tea – 85% of India’s production is consumed domestically. But the per capita consumption of tea in India is very low compared to many other tea drinking nations. There is very likelihood that the generic promotion of tea in the domestic market will increase the per capita consumption of tea.
He further said GST implementation has been smooth for the tea industry and it has really helped us in case of doing business.
"The Government of Assam levies a Green Leaf Cess of 0.40 paisa per kg of green leaf for big plantations under the Assam Taxation on Specified Land Act. According to the latest statistics of Tea Board, Small growers produce 40% of Assam green leaf. In the recent State Budget, cess on green leaf for small growers has been withdrawn. This green leaf cess is only applicable on 60% of the total green leaf produced in the state," NETA adviser said
NETA urged, "we hereby appeal that this green leaf cess of 0.40 paisa per kg of green leaf be subsumed in the GST."
By BOA Bureau