The Assam government disbursed Rs 63.05 crore as a financial incentive to 370 tea gardens in the state to help them mitigate the adverse impact of the pandemic. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the tea industry was the backbone of the state's economy, making up nearly 90 per cent of its gross export value, besides providing direct and indirect employment to over a million people.
"It is due to the tea industry's huge impact on the economy of Assam that the state government formulated the Assam Tea Industry Special Incentive Scheme, 2020 to help the sector absorb some of the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic," he said at the disbursement programme on Thursday.
Apart from providing interest subvention of 3 per cent on working capital loans, the financial grant was aimed at promoting orthodox tea over crush-tear-curl (CTC) tea, he said. Under this scheme, a subsidy of Rs 10 per kg of orthodox and other special varieties of tea have been given, Sarma said.
To mark the 200th anniversary of tea production in Assam, an additional subsidy of Rs 2 per kg for orthodox tea has been fixed for the financial year 2023-24, he said. Besides, a subsidy of 25 per cent shall also be provided by the government to tea gardens to set up units for orthodox tea production, he added.
Sarma said he was confident that the state's tea industry will be able to claim its rightful place in the world in the future. He also listed the initiatives taken by the state government for the socio-economic empowerment of the tea tribes of Assam.