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Commerce Ministry to tweak guidelines for future orientation of Tea Board

IANS  |  Kolkata 

The Union Commerce Ministry has thought of tweaking the guidelines relating to the "future orientation" of Tea Board which is presently more of a subsidy disbursement organisation, an official said.

"We keep hearing the thoughts of the future orientation of Tea Board. I personally feel that now we have entered a time when Tea Board has to move away from being a subsidy disbursement organisation to an organisation which is working with the industry on issues related to sustainability, higher quality and value addition and this should be the future orientation of Tea Board."

"In this connection, we thought of tweaking the guidelines to bring in these elements," the Union Commerce Ministry's Joint Secretary (Plantations), Santosh Sarangi said here while addressing the 134th annual general meeting of the Indian Tea Association in Kolkata on Tuesday evening.

According to Sarangi, an industry generating thousands of crores of annual revenue does not need any subsidy.

He also mentioned sometimes the cost of administering the subsidy outweighs the subsidy itself.

"Frankly, an industry which is generating Rs 15,000-Rs 17,000 crore every year doesn't require a couple of crores of subsidy," he said, adding that for example, in the rubber board, while it was seen to administer subsidy worth Rs 30 crore, the annual establishment cost was touching Rs 100 crore.

He also said the Ministry got Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) approval for Rs 685 crore for medium term framework till 2019 and that will help in clearing of a lot of earlier subsidies that are pending.

Sarangi said there are some elements including research and development efforts, production related assistance where some amount of financial support has to continue.

He said the major focus for Tea Board would be to work on generic promotions, facilitating industry to set up tea lounges, boutiques, blending and packaging units outside to push exports of Indian tea.

According to him, Tea Board has thought of tweaking guidelines to bring in an element of assistance for those interested in setting up such blending and packaging units outside.

"Bringing the export focus back has to be one of the prime areas, and again in that, targeting the qualities that are sold, orthodox and green variety, is something we need to work on," he added.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, December 06 2017. 18:32 IST