Guwahati, Oct 28: The tea industry fighting prolonged recession and disadvantages because of remote locations of tea estates in this part of the country has submitted a representation to the Union Finance Ministry seeking certain reliefs.
In a representation to the ministry, the Tea Association of India (TAI), a leading body of tea planters, sought for inclusion of the Orthodox Production Subsidy Scheme under Section 10 (30) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 for eligibility for exclusion from total income at the same ratio that is now applicable for subsidies meant for re-plantation, replacement and rejuvination of tea bushes.
The Orthodox Production Subsidy Scheme was introduced by the Centre from January 1, 2005, to encourage production of orthodox tea to meet growing export demands.
Following remote location of tea estates, the TAI has suggested calculation of perquisites in respect of residential accommodation and furniture provided to tea garden employees working at mining sites and onshore or off shore oil exploration sites that are also located in far flung places.
The tea body sought exemption for the industry from paying banking cash transaction tax. Due to remote locations most of the tea estates make payments of wages, salaries, contractors abd bills in cash.
A tea estate in Assam producing about 12 lakh kg of tea per annum is required to withdraw average Rs 5 crore in cash every year.
The TAI also sought exemption from payment of fringe benefit tax in line with the concession enjoyed by certain industries of strategic and national importance. It has asked for the abolishment of the Central Sales tax and removal of the anomalies in the value-added tax (VAT) system to make it uniform and amenable to the principles laid down for it throughout the country.
The planters association sought transport subsidy for tea producers in the line with the same granted under the Central Investment and Central Interest Subsidy schemes. It asked for inclusion of the tea gardens located at Dooars and the Terai region of North Bengal under the Transport Subsidy Scheme that is now applicable only for the Northeast because of problems in communication.