The tea industry, which has been beleaguered by low prices, has been offered a ray of hope. Although the package for re-plantation and rejuvenation of tea was announced in the previous Budget, it did not take off. The Commerce Minister in October had announced a plan to cover low-yielding areas over 2 lakh hectares. The Finance Minister has proposed a "levelised" contribution, estimated to be Rs 100 crore for 2006-07, to the Special Purpose Tea Fund, the modalities of which are being worked out by the Ministry of Commerce. The benefits of this fund would take an estimated 5-year period to trickle into the tea industry.
(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 1, 2006)