UPASI wants more fund allocation for the plantation industry in Union Budget
The United Planters’ Association of Southern India (UPASI) has requested that Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman consider increasing allocations for the plantation industry in the Union Budget 2023–24, citing the urgent need for more research funding.
Recent budgets have cut the amount of money given to commodity boards by a lot. This has hurt the plantation industry because the boards can’t do development projects or pay growers their dues under different schemes. In 2022-23, the Tea Board received ₹131.92 crores, compared to ₹353.65 crores in the revised forecast for 2021–22.
UPASI’s pre-budget memorandum says that the plantation sector is important to the economy because it employs a huge number of people, mostly women, especially in poor areas. Jefry Rebello, the president of UPASI, says that it will be hard to get new investments in the sector until there is a guarantee of stability.
Advantages of exporting
Export advantages under the RoDTEP scheme should be set at 5% for plantation commodities such as tea, coffee, cardamom, and pepper, and 7% for value-added plantation commodities. The import duty on compound rubber should be increased from 10% to 25%.
It requested the implementation of the Inter-Ministerial Committee recommendation of sharing social costs 50:50 between employers and the Central and State Governments. This idea was quite constructive, and if followed, will go a long way toward providing assistance to the sector, according to the report.
The government should assist by sharing the social expenses of the plantations, as it has done in other sectors, it suggested.
UPASI says that one of the main reasons the Indian plantation sector can’t compete with other producing countries is that the cost of production is too high. This is because of social costs that don’t exist in other producing countries.