The Assam government on Friday announced four schemes for the tea industry, including a push for the production of ‘orthodox’ variety of leaves which is exported majorly.
Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that a 3% interest subvention per year will be provided to those tea gardens which have taken a working capital loan, with an overall cap of Rs 20 lakh. Second, the state government will give a subsidy of Rs 7 per kg of ‘orthodox’ tea. The Tea Board of India already provides a Rs 3 subsidy per kg of ‘orthodox tea’, making it a total subsidy of Rs 10 per kg.
Thirdly, Sarma said that if a tea garden purchases new machinery to manufacture ‘orthodox’ tea, then the state govt will help with a 25% capital subsidy. Lastly, he added, an agricultural income tax holiday for three years will be given for Assam’s tea gardens.
‘Orthodox’ and ‘CTC’ refer to two different styles of tea leave production and processing. For producing the ‘orthodox’ variety, traditional methods of plucking, withering, rolling, oxidation and drying are involved while making the ‘CTC’ — Crush, Tear and Curl — involves passing leaves through rollers.
Sarma said, producing ‘orthodox’ tea costs the gardens more than making ‘CTC’. “We are trying to shift Assam’s tea production from ‘CTC’ to ‘orthodox’ as much as we can. Because it is 100% export,” Sarma said.
Sarma added that the state government expects that tea garden authorities will provide a 20% bonus to workers on the occasion of upcoming Durga Puja.
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