New Delhi, Oct. 23: The commerce ministry said today that the relief package for the tea, coffee and rubber plantations is being given the finishing touches and will be implemented “in the next 15 days”.
Commerce minister Arun Jaitley and finance minister Jaswant Singh have thrashed out the main issues at their meeting on Tuesday. The Reserve Bank, the Indian Bank Association and the revenue department are working on the package which will provide relief to the plantation sector reeling under the fall in global and domestic prices of these products.
The reduction of interest rates on loans to tea gardens has already been worked out and the government will now extend this 6 per cent interest rate on loans to coffee plantations as well.
However, as the tea industry has a longer crop cycle ranging between 9 to 12 months, the ceiling limit for two crop cycles may be extended to the 18 to 24 months range in the case of tea compared with the 12-month period for other agricultural crops for defining non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks.
The proposal extending price subsidy to small growers on green tea leaf will be examined separately. Meanwhile, the commerce ministry will take immediate steps to work out and implement a green tea leaf price formula under the relevant provisions of the Tea Marketing Control Order, 2003.
The commerce ministry will also consider the quantum and other details for implementation of the export incentive for orthodox tea.