Fri, 01 Dec 2023

Guwahati (Assam) [India], March 16 (ANI): To celebrate 200 years of Assam tea, the state government announced to organise road shows in major cities across the country as well as abroad to promote Assam Tea as a brand on Thursday.

Presenting the State Budget for the financial year 2023-24 in the Assam assembly, state Finance Minister Ajanta Neog said that - "Our Government wishes to celebrate 200 years of Assam tea, which coincides with the year 2023, in a grand manner. We propose to organize 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.""For nearly two centuries, the tea sector has been the backbone of our economy. Needless to add Tea Industry is also extremely important from the employment generation perspective. A substantial part of our populace depends on the tea. Even today, tea constitutes close to 90 per cent of our exports,' said the finance minister.

"The potential of tea garden land has been unlocked and shall be used for agriculture and allied activities. Assam Tea Industries Special Incentives Scheme (ATISIS), 2020 will be further strengthened to incentivize 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. However, celebrating the 200 years of Assam Tea, I am pleased to announce that for the current year of 2023-24 only, an enhanced production subsidy of Rs 12 per kg will be extended. Rs 100 crore has been earmarked for this scheme," Ajanta Neog said.

The Assam Finance Minister also announced the proposed extension of the tax holiday on Agricultural Income Tax for a period of the next three years.

"This year, as a special relief, all the arrear electricity dues of tea garden worker families living in the lines will be waived off as a one-time measure by the Government. I will earmark Rs 150 crore for the same. Under the 'Wage Compensation Scheme for Pregnant Women of Tea Garden Areas of Assam', the compensation amount will be enhanced to Rs 15,000 from the existing Rs 12,000," stated the minister.

For the construction of 500 Mahaprabhu Jagannath Community Hall cum Skill Centres in the prominent localities of tea gardens, the government has already made a provision for Rs 200 crore in this year's budget. Under Mukhya Mantri Awaas Yojana, 10,000 houses will be constructed in Tea Garden labour lines only. The Government will continue supporting Assam Tea Corporation Limited (ATCL) against the payment of outstanding liabilities of interest on the Provident Fund in a phased manner, keeping in mind the greater interest of ATCL workers.

"I am allocating a sum of Rs 100 crore this year. Tea gardens and the Adivasi community will be recognised as separate sub-categories within OBC. Around 3 per cent reservation into Government jobs, within the OBC quota, will be considered for them, subject to fulfilling legal stipulations in this regard," Ajanta Neog said.

The Assam Finance Minister on Thursday presented a Rs 935.23 crore deficit state budget for 2023-24 in the assembly.

The Budget Estimates for 2023-24 show a receipt of Rs 139443.88 Crore under the Consolidated Fund of the State. Out of this, Rs.114084.69 Crore is in Revenue Account and the remaining Rs 25359.19 Crore is under Capital Account.

After adding the receipt of Rs 180298.83 Crore under Public Account and Rs 2000.00 Crore under Contingency Fund, the aggregate Receipts amount to Rs 321742.71 Crore. As against this, total expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of the State in 2023-24 is estimated at Rs 139755.27 Crore of which Rs 111336.59 Crore is on Revenue Account and Rs 28418.68 Crore is on Capital Account.

"Taking into account the expenditure of Rs 179326.48 Crore under the Public Account and Rs 2000.00 Crore under Contingency Fund, the aggregate expenditure for the year is estimated at Rs 321081.75 Crore. Thus, estimated transactions during the year will result in an estimated surplus of Rs 660.96 Crore. This, together with the opening deficit of Rs.1596.19 Crore will lead to a Budget deficit of Rs 935.23 Crore at the end of the year 2023-24," Ajanta Neog said in her budget. (ANI)

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