GUWAHATI: The Assam government on Friday announced a Rs 200-crore incentive package for the state’s tea industry, including three years exemption of agricultural income tax, to give a boost to the sector. The tea industry in the state is going through a difficult phase for the past few years and the gardens were also closed due to the lockdown, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
“The tea industry in the state needs to be bailed out and we are providing four incentives which will ensure that they remain financially viable,” he said at a press conference. The state government has decided to give a three-year agricultural income tax holiday and 3 per cent interest subvention on working capital with a cap of Rs 20 lakh, he said.
It is the orthodox tea that is mostly exported and the government has decided that the focus should be on increasing its production, Sarma said. “The state government has decided to give a subsidy of Rs 7 per kg and with the Tea Board’s subsidy of Rs 3 per kg, the total subsidy of Rs 10 per kg will definitely boost the production of orthodox tea, leading to an increase in exports,” the minister said.
A capital subsidy of 25 per cent will also be given by the state government for the setting up of plant and machinery required for the production of orthodox tea, he said. “The total cost incurred by the state government will be Rs 200 crore and we are making these announcements with the expectation that the garden authorities will ensure smooth payment of Durga Puja bonus to its workers without any unnecessary disputes,” Sarma said.
The state-owned Assam Tea Corporation has already announced a bonus of 20 per cent for the workers of the gardens under it and hoped that other gardens will ensure the same, he said. The state government has also decided to increase the monthly ration allowance of constables of Assam Police to Rs2,000 from Rs 1,200, and this will be expanded to the forest police battalion as well, the minister said. (PTI)