Business

Tea Board plans to end licence renewal

Moots 100% sale of Darjeeling tea through auctions

The Tea Board of India plans to abolish licence renewal system, paving the way for a perpetual licence as part of the government’s policy of ease of doing business.

A senior Tea Board official said the Union Commerce Ministry’s approval for the proposal is expected by November 15. Currently, licences have a three-year validity.

Under the proposal, licence renewal fees would have to be paid but the renewal process would be automatic. Enquiries showedrevealed currently at least four licences were required for tea planting, exporting and trading tea waste.

Tea Board deputy chairman Arun Kumar Ray informed the media that the Union Commerce Ministry had also permitted the sale of packet teas and bulk teas up to 50 kg through the GeM portal, the government’s e-marketplace. This would enable tea industry and trade to sell teas directly to any government agency without bidding.

He said that the board was also keen on making it mandatory to sell 100% of Darjeeling tea through auction in a bid to ensure for a transparent price-discovery system and to stop unhealthy trade practices.

Averaging an annual output of nine million kgs, the prized brew is produced in 87 estates in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district. Mr. Ray said that this would be implemented subject to at least 60% of the producers agreeing to it. Enquiries showed that while at present 50% of Darjeeling tea crop, protected by a the GI tag, is mandated to be sold through auctions, in reality, only about 40% is sold through the auction system.

“Traceability of Darjeeling tea is a cause of concern and some doubts have been raised in this regard,” he said, adding teas from another Himalayan country are being sold as Darjeeling tea.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 11:37:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/tea-board-plans-to-end-licence-renewal/article29713908.ece

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