Assam industry hails 5% GST on tea, exemption on green leaf

The tea industry in Assam has hailed the Centre’s decision to keep manufactured tea at the 5 per cent slab of the GST and totally exempting unprocessed green tea leaves from the GST, with industry captains saying this would provide a much-needed boost the tea plantations that have been facing several problems in the recent years.
“Tea being highly price-sensitive, any increase in tea prices in the new GST mechanism would have caused serious adverse impact on it affecting its sustainability and economic viability as also the large workforce it supports,” a statement issued by the joint forum of three tea associations – Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA), North-East Tea Association (NETA) and Bharatiya Chah Parishad (BCP) said here on Monday.
“Tea is highly price sensitive. Any increase in tea prices as a consequence of high GST rate could have adversely affected the sustainability and economic viability of the tea sector and the large workforce that it supports. Tea is a common man’s beverage and is the second most consumed beverage in India after water,” Arun Thekedath of ATPA, Manoj Jallan of NETA and Mrigen Jalan of BCP, in their joint statement said.
Meanwhile, Meanwhile, Bidyananda Barkakoty, a member of Tea Board and former NETA chairman, said the Centre had taken a decision that would go a long way in supporting the tea industry. “While the rate of VAT had hovered around 5 to 5.5 per cent on made tea across the country with Punjab having the highest 6.05 per cent, putting tea in the 5 per cent bracket in the GST will immensely benefit both tea manufacturers as well as consumers,” he said.
Hailing the GST Council’s decision to put unprocessed green tea leaf in the ‘exempted’ list of GST, Barkakoty said it would bring great relief to over two lakh small tea growers of Assam who together account for one-third of the total 1250 million kg of tea that the country annually produces.
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