The Tea Association of India (TAI), the apex body of tea garden owners, is optimistic about the Budget proposals.
It said the emphasis on the ‘health and well being’ and ‘reinvigorating human capital’ that has been highlighted as the six pillars of the Budget-2021 proposals, would prove to be all-inclusive, and the industry would benefit from these.
The TAI welcomed the provision of the special scheme for the welfare of the women workers and their children in Assam and West Bengal, amounting to Rs 1,000 crore for tea workers residing in the two states.
“This holds promise for the residential women workers and their children, which comprise more than 50 per cent of the labour force,” TAI secretary-general PK Bhattacharjee said.
He said the impact of the announced and proposed minimum wages for all the categories of the tea industry workers are to be examined once the minimum wages are notified.
“However, the announcement of allowing women to work in night shifts is welcome along with the announcement of ushering changes on ease of doing business proposals such as ongoing registration of licenses.
“The ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Swasthya Yojna’ is expected to offer medical succour to the tea gardens’ workers as well,” TAI statement said.
It said that the push for road projects in Assam and West Bengal would provide an infrastructural push in the state, particularly in the interiors.
The statement said the announcement of the government to increase the maximum threshold paid-up capital of small companies from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 2 crore and increase the threshold of maximum turnover from Rs 2 crore to Rs 20 crore of the past financial year would provide relief from greater compliance of the gardens.
Bhattacharjee in his statement said the ‘Minimum Alternate Tax’ provided under section 115JB of the Income Tax Act should have been done away with as Industry believes it has outlived its utility.
The statement said that the agricultural, infrastructural development cess on petrol and diesel takes away the prospect of having any relief on the burgeoning price on fuel despite the reduction of basic excise duty and special excise duty.
“Industry’s expectation on relief under section 194N and 206c (1H) of the I-T Act does not appear to have been affected. However, it is to be hoped that the scheme proposed to promote Digital Payment would expedite Digital Payment infrastructure in Tea Gardens,” the TAI release said.