Guwahati, Nov 12: Tea Association of India (TAI), a frontline tea plantation association in the country, has advocated for fair remunerative price for the tea sector as well as revamping of the auction system for improving the financial health of the industry.
Addressing the 48th annual general meeting of the TAI in Kolkata today, President Raj Bansal said, “Fair remunerative price would be instrumental in preventing the industry from slipping into a state of depression that will affect the livelihood of one millions of workers which has forward/ backward linkages with further 4 million persons who derive livelihood from the Industry. A concept on this line was introduced in Kenya with success.”
He further said, “The Auction system prevalent in the Tea Industry has proved its worth to various stake holders of the Industry and there is no doubt that it would continue to remain the first choice of price discovery for the Tea Industry and therefore whatever glitches that exist need to be ironed out.”
“The introduction of Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Product has severely curtails the compatibility of the Indian Tea exports since its rate of 1% -1.7% is far below compared to MEIS rate of 5%. We, therefore, urge the Government to kindly re-examine the issue to boost exports,” he said.
The TAI President said, “Tea Estates are witnessing the impact of climate change. This has a bearing on yield as well as the quality of tea. Tea Industry is a negative carbon emission Industry and it’s unfair that it has to bear the brunt of these climate changes caused by other factors. We look to the research arms of our industry the Tea Research Association to work on, and provide solutions for adapting and mitigating the Climate change challenges being faced by the industry. We also urge the Government to release appropriate funds to the TRA for conducting such research.”
“The Code on wages is of prime importance to the Industries as this would have a direct bearing on Cost of Production and therefore the Industry is concerned on the declaration of the Minimum Floor Wages enshrined in the code on Wages 2019 as any Minimum Wages notified by a state government cannot be lower than the minimum floor wages,” he said.
Dr. K. K. Diwedi, Principal Secretary to Industry and Commerce Department in Assam government, addressing the TAI AGM said, “The government of Assam has been alive to the financial woes of the industry which has understandably arisen due to massive rise in the cost of productions out of which the labour wages comprise almost 50-60% to the cost of production.”
He mentioned about the initiatives taken by the government of Assam in recent years to provide relief to the crisis-hit tea industry - a restrictive rise in interim wages of workers, waiver of green leaf cess, a comprehensive policy of financial granting incentive to the tea industry in the form of ATISIS (Assam Tea Industry Special Incentive Scheme).
“Since the Tea Industry is a major economic driver, it is important that the Government derive a policy entirely devoted and focused on the tea industry that would ensure growth with sustainability,” Dr Diwedi said