In what could provide a little relief to the tea industry in Assam and the rest of the Northeast grappling with the Covid-19 impact, the Tea Board of India has extended a financial aid of Rs 9.19 crores for the first quarter of the year 2021-2022.
Financial assistance has been provided for all stakeholders of the tea industry, including the organised sector, small tea growers, and garden workers.
"The disbursement during the first quarter of 2021-22 would help to partially ease the distress faced by the industry arising out of the pandemic," the Tea Board of India said in a statement on Wednesday.
The board had similarly provided Rs 60.92 crores as financial assistance during 2020-21.
The funds have been provided under the Tea Board's Tea Development and Promotion Scheme.
The tea industry in the Northeast, particularly Assam, has been grappling with a crisis owing to low production and stagnant prices during the coronavirus pandemic. Erratic rains this year too have added to the woes of the tea industry in Assam, the state which contributes over 50 per cent of the total tea production in the country.
The Board has been implementing the Tea Development and Promotion Scheme with the overall objective of enhancing productivity and quality through replantation, irrigation, encouraging collectivization amongst small tea growers into self-help groups, farmer producer organisations and farmer producer companies.
This seeks to enable them to move up the value chain, value addition, the incentive for the production of orthodox tea, exports, tea promotion, research, regulatory activities, welfare measures for workers that are supplementary to the provisions of the Plantation Labour Act, 1951.
The scheme is implemented in all the tea-growing regions of the country including the Northeast.
Financial assistance is also extended under the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan and Tribal Area Sub Plan for beneficiaries belonging to SC and ST communities.
The assistance is credited to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries via direct benefit transfer by electronic mode, said a statement issued by the board.