Industry

Centre plans to liberalise Tea Act

Women tea workers in Perivurrai Lower Division tea estate on Monday after their nine-day strike ended successfully. Photo: H. Vibhu

Women tea workers in Perivurrai Lower Division tea estate on Monday after their nine-day strike ended successfully. Photo: H. Vibhu  

The Centre is planning to liberalise the Tea Act, so as to increase tea production and productivity by bringing additional areas under cultivation.

R.R, Rashmi, Additional Secretary, Union Commerce Ministry said here on Thursday that while it is proposing to amend the Tea Act to waive the present stipulation of obtaining permits for bringing additional areas under tea cultivation, the state governments would also need to match the initiative by easing its process of granting permissions.

“We are yet to get a response from the West Bengal government in this matter,” he told reporters after addressing the Tea Research Association’s annual general meeting.

“Our move is aimed at increasing production, which is among the three areas of concern for the government with regard to the Indian tea industry. We would like the West Bengal government to have flexibility in giving its no objection certificate,’’ he said.

This was needed mostly in this state where there are restrictions on land-use.

Tea production has to grow vertically (through productivity increases) and horizontally (through land expansion), he said.

Pointing out that ensuring quality and increasing exports were the two other areas of concern, he said that C-DAC (Centre for Developing Advanced Computing) is presently working with TRA on a spectrometer which will enable tea growers especially small ones to detect traces of pesticides early. On the minimum wage issue, he indicated that there was need to evolve a package which integrated the cash and ‘kind’ components in tea wage so that the statutory costs (on account of benefits given to labour on account of the Plantation Labour Act) could be met while also incorporating minimum wage, but without affecting competition.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 12:43:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/centre-plans-to-liberalise-tea-act/article7686113.ece

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