The Assam government on Thursday distributed Rs 64 crore under its special incentive scheme among 370 tea gardens here at a ceremonial event.
Through its Assam Tea Industry Special Incentive Scheme 2020, the state provides Rs 7 per kg as a subsidy for the production of orthodox and specialty tea. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma participated at the distribution ceremony.
Starting next financial year, the state government in the Budget document proposed to increase the subsidy from Rs 7 to Rs 10 per kg. For 2023-24, whie the state is celebrating the 200 years of its tea industry, the incentive would, however, be Rs 12 per kg.
Assam produces about 700 million kg of tea annually and accounts for around half of India’s overall tea production. The state also generates annual foreign exchange earnings in thousands of crores.
Meanwhile, Assam kickstarted a year-long celebration of its tea industry reaching a crucial milestone of 200 years. Tea bushes were first discovered in the state way back in 1823.
Renowned globally for its richly coloured and aromatic tea, Assam’s tea industry, which is the country’s largest, provides livelihoods to millions with many others directly or indirectly dependent on the plantations. The state is famed for both Orthodox and the CTC (Crush, Tear, Curl) varieties of tea.
For nearly two centuries, the tea sector has been the backbone of the state’s economy and employment generation point of view, as a substantial part of its populace depends on tea. Tea constitutes close to 90 per cent of the state’s exports.
In her Budget speech, Assam finance minister Ajanta Neog said her government wishes to celebrate 200 years of Assam tea in a grand manner.
“We propose to organise road shows 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,” she said while presenting the Budget.