Draft tea bill proposes to do away with licenses
Draft tea bill – According to an official, the draught tea bill aims to eliminate antiquated or unnecessary regulations, eliminate licenses, increase ease of doing business, and boost tea exports. The commerce ministry has suggested repealing the Tea Act of 1953, which is 68 years old, and replacing it with the Tea (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022.
According to the official, “the goal of the new bill is to eliminate archaic/redundant aspects that have lost their relevance and make it industry friendly by eliminating licenses and serving as a facilitator.”
It would also meet the needs of the sector and the current economic situation in the country. According to the official, the bill recognizes small farmers and prioritizes their training, adoption of new technologies, capacity building, and value addition; it also protects the interests of tea garden staff and promotes ease of doing business.
The tea industry is currently governed by four control orders issued by the national government. “The control system established under those directives has outlived its relevance,” the source said, adding that the new bill will aid in increasing exports by emphasizing quality and preserving intellectual property rights of Indian-origin tea. It also considers decriminalizing minor infractions and limiting noncompliance consequences to civil penalties.
Draft tea bill
Furthermore, the bill establishes the proportionality doctrine, which requires the Tea Board’s actions to be consistent with the bill’s objectives in order to prevent the Board from acting unfairly or unilaterally. Planting authorization, export allotment, export quotas and licenses, imposition of a cess on tea produced in India, and removal of planted tea without permission are all antiquated components of the current Act.
Under an existing provision of the Act, the central government has the authority to oversee the pricing and distribution of tea, including setting the minimum and maximum prices.
Currently, the Centre has the authority to appoint anyone to take over management control of any garden that has been closed for more than three months without being investigated. “These are reactive measures that have never worked and have instead served as a deterrent to new investment,” the official continued. Export stagnation, a demand-supply imbalance that leads to dropping pricing, diminishing productivity, a lack of value addition, and a lack of product diversification are among the sector’s major issues. India produces some of the world’s best teas, including Darjeeling, Assam, and Nilgiri.
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