Amendments to Rubber Act, 1947 approved

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New Delhi, Feb 5 (ANI): The Union Cabinet today approved the amendments to the Rubber Act, 1947 and the Rubber (Amendment) Bill, 2009 will be introduced in the ensuing session of the Parliament.

As the Rubber Act is 60 years old, some of the provisions of the Rubber Act, 1947 have become redundant over the years. The rubber sector has also undergone a lot of changes over the years and particularly, as a result of the regime of economic liberalization.

The definition of 'small grower' is to be amended whereby a 'small grower' would be an owner whose estate does not exceed ten hectares in area against the existing limit of fifty acres in area.

It will also empower the rubber board to implement the standards for quality, marking, labeling and packing for various marketable forms of rubber, for the rubber produced or processed in India, imported into India and exported from India.

Rubber Development Fund in place of the existing general fund and pool fund with effective device for quick and smooth flow of money into the fund will give fresh impetus to the functioning of the Rubber Board.

It will empower the Central Government to grant exemption or reduction of any cess on rubber produced in India and exported if it is considered necessary in public interest.

The amendment will also enable the Central Government to specify zero paise per kg as the rate of cess on Natural Rubber produced in India and procured for export by the exporters of natural rubber for the period from April 11961 to August 31, 2003.

It will also enable the Board to recover the cess from the owners, exporter or manufacturers with the cost of collection and interest in case of delayed payment of cess. The amendments proposed in sub-sections (2) and (3) of section 12 would enable to settle three pending C and AG audit paragraphs.

The proposed amendments will enable the Central Government to issue directions to the Board in the matters of policy and empower it to delegate any of its power and functions exercisable by it by such officer or authority and enable the Rubber Board to make regulations to carry out its functions under the Act. It also empowers the Rubber Board to compound any offence punishable under the Act.

The amendment will provide for representation of the Central Government in the Rubber Board. The provisions of registration of rubber estates and licence for planting or replanting of rubber are redundant at present and therefore, the relevant provisions will be deleted.

The Rubber Act, 1947 was last amended in 1994. (ANI)

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