Assam state finance minister Ajanta Neog said that tea garden and the Adivasi community will be recognised as a separate sub-category within Other Backward Classes (OBC).
Further around 3 per cent reservation in government jobs, within the OBC quota, will be considered, subject to fulfilling legal stipulations.
As Assam celebrated 200 years of the first tea plantation being set up in the state, the state government announced increased production subsidies for orthodox and speciality teas, and waiver of past electricity dues of tea garden workers living on `coolie lines'.
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It also said that the tea gardens and Adivasi community will be recognised as a separate sub-category within the Other Backward Classes (OBC) and that the government will focus on improving infrastructure in workers' colonies.
Finance Minister Ajanta Neog, while making the announcements as part of Assam's annual budget, also said the government will celebrate the completion of 200 years of Assam Tea in a grand manner.
Roadshows in major cities across the country as well as abroad to promote Assam Tea as a brand and showcase the rich socio-cultural heritage of tea garden communities has been proposed, she said.
Neog said the Assam Tea Industries Special Incentives Scheme (ATISIS), 2020, will be further strengthened to incentivise the production of orthodox tea and speciality tea in Assam. “As promised, an increase in the production subsidy for orthodox and speciality tea from Rs 7 to Rs 10 per kg is already under process.
Meanwhile, the planters’ body Tea Association of India (TAI) has hailed the Assam budget and lauded the extension of the agricultural income tax exemption and the special incentive for the production of orthodox and speciality tea.
“The proposal to hold road shows all over India to promote Assam tea, as part of the 200 years celebration, would be of immense benefit to the Assam Tea Industry,” Dipanjol Deka, secretary, TAI Assam Branch, said.
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