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Tea planters sought 90 percent subsidy on installation of solar plants in tea industry

Guwahati: Tea planter have sought 90 percent subsidy on installation of solar plants in tea industry from Union ministry of Commerce and Industry.

On Wednesday Union ministry of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal will hold stakeholders meeting with representatives of tea industry at New Delhi.

Tea planters body North Eastern Tea Association (NETA)in a memorandum to the government stated, “Energy consumption constitutes one of the major costs of tea production. The Power Tariff for the tea industry is distinctly categorized and is rather high. We request the Government to subsidize Power Tariff to the tea industry by half for at least a period of five years”.

NETA adviser, Bidyananda Barkakoty said, “The Government may please allow 90% subsidy on installation of solar plants in tea industry, as is being done in case of educational institutions etc. This will not only encourage the industry to produce energy required by them but will also enable them to sell additional energy and generate revenue. All Tea estates have wasteland, not suitable for agricultural activity. This fallow land can be utilized to install Solar Photo Voltaic Panels and generate solar power.”

NETA stated, “We hereby urge the Government to consider paying Employers’ share of contribution to Provident Fund payable to the workers by the industry, at least for a period of three years. Auctions have historically been the primary channel for sale of tea. However, the cost involved in transportation, warehousing, brokerage etc. makes it one of the major components of cost for the industry. We would plead the Government to subsidize this cost to the extent possible.”

The body sought enhancement of of incentive for orthodox teas from Rs.3/- to Rs.20/- per kg and fixing minimum price for green leaf be fixed – for North India and South India .

NETA has requested for Generic promotion of tea. “India is the largest producer and largest consumer of black tea in the world. Tea board has recently engaged M/S. Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India to do a study on “Domestic Consumption of Tea in India” and as per the Deloitte report of June 2018 – “Apparent Annual per capita consumption of tea in India stands at 0.78 kg. per person in comparison to other countries in the world, Turkey (3.2 Kg), Morocco (1.86 Kg), UK (1.58 Kg) and even neighboring countries like Pakistan (0.81 Kg) and China (1.31 Kg)”.

The body added, “There is every possibility that the per capita consumption of tea can go up by way of generic promotion of tea in domestic market. If we can increase the per capita consumption of tea in India by another 70 gms then 50% of the challenges faced by the Indian tea industry will be over.

Customers prefer to buy home décor items that are a reflection of their own environment

Discerning customers are travelling the world and coming back to shop comfortable with the thought that home decor products inspired by Indian design, tradition and culture are a reflection of their own environment. Quick to sense the opportunity, high-end stores such as Good Earth, Casa Paradox, Bungalow 8 and the Souk are ramping up.

“Indians are more intelligent today when it comes to making choices. They are well informed and well travelled. They will not buy something that is not a fit culturally. Everyone is tired of the generic contemporary modern looking furniture and decor pieces,” says designer Raseel Gujral.

This growing popularity and appreciation is also taking Indian designers to global platforms and international buyers. Raseel Gujral who runs Casa Paradox lifestyle stores along with her husband Navin Ansal, has just finished showcasing her new collections at Maison, a major trade fair held in Paris.

The designer showcased about 100 pieces at the show under the Neophile and Illustratti range. The first was an amalgamation of Mughul, colonial and modern era, while Illustratti, was more modern in approach but with a lot of Indian graphics and bright colours. “We got a lot of business queries from the Middle East & Russia, interior designers and retailers,” she said.

“Ten years ago, we as Indians were uncomfortable with our Indian-ness and living in a colonial hangover. Now we appreciate our heritage and craft much more and look at it in a modern global context,” says Maithili Ahluwalia, founder of the decade old luxury lifestyle store Bungalow 8 in Mumbai.

Ahluwalia says Indian design is not about having an elephant printed on a cushion cover, its more about “integrating weaves, craftsmanship, traditions in modern way to create unique products.”

“People are becoming more and more proud of being Indian which reflects in their choices and the products they buy. There is more demand and respect for crafts-based products now,” says Simran Lal, CEO of Good Earth.

With ten stores across India and annual sales of about Rs 110 crore, Good Earth is also planning to launch on-line business by next month. “E-commerce will be a whole new chapter in our 18 years long story,” she adds.

Good Earth designs 80% of its products in-house. The company caters to a large number of customers abroad by entertaining emailed orders. Good Earth says they get lot of demand for textile home furnishing items and lamps, dining-ware such as crockery and other tableware.

Bungalow 8 is also popular with tourists and expats buying at the store, besides the orders it gets from across the world. Given the rising interest level for its products, the company is in the process of tying up with numerous international e-commerce websites. “International clients currently contribute about 25 % to our total sales,” she says.

Buyers of such products in India are not restricted to cities like Delhi and Mumbai. Even markets like Chennai, traditionally considered to be conservative when it come to spending on lifestyle items, has seen demand grow.


“Our customers are eclectic and discerning inpiduals who are looking for unique and unusual objects to do up their homes,” says Saumya Keshvan, owner of the Souk a store in Chennai, which sells vintage and retro furniture and decor items from Kerela, Goa. She also imports products from Mangolia, Indonesia, Burma and Sri Lanka and Morocco, which sell well here.

Saumya says discerning customers are not buying expensive Italian furniture just because they have money, the pieces they buy have to fit within the context of their homes in India. She says art deco, lamps, sculptures, chests made of wood and textiles area lot in demand.

Alternatives put on table to break pre-2020 impasse at COP23

BONN, Germany: Negotiators have so far failed to break the ice on the issue of pre-2020 impasse here during the ongoing UN climate change conference. Though an alternative has been put forward to make some progress, the developing countries on Monday refused to go for it and insisted to include pre-2020 issues in the agenda of COP23.

It is learnt that the Morocco’s foreign minister, Salaheddine Mezouar, who convened informal consultations among countries on the issue for two consecutive days last week, suggested that the countries could alternatively consider including pre-2020 as part of the facilitative dialogue in 2018.

Besides, it was also suggested that the countries may consider an annual high level dialogue to take stock of collective progress on pre-2020 implementation from 2018-2020 and opt for an online submission of their pre-2020 actions.

Sources said that the consultations on the alternative was still going on and it appeared that the developing countries could agree to it, provided the developed countries accepted for a definite timeline to ratify an existing amendment on second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (KP-II) during its 20th anniversary year.

The Protocol, which was adopted in 1997, refer to existing obligations of rich nations to take mitigation (emission cut) actions. Though the developed countries had in Doha in 2012 amended it and agreed to undertake their aggregate emission cuts by at least 18% below the 1990 levels, most of them, including the EU, have, so far, not even ratified the decision. Its ratification is important for global climate action for the years leading up to 2020. So far, only 84 of the total 191 signatories have ratified it. The number is not adequate to make the commitment operational.

Developing countries, including India and China, had last week demanded inclusion of the pre-2020 issue in the agenda of the COP23. But, the developed countries continued to oppose it on Monday saying the matter can be discussed at some other forum.

It is expected that the the Moroccan foreign minister Mezouar, who was the COP22 president, would try to reach at a consensus over the issue on behalf of the Fijian presidency of the COP23 before beginning of the high-level segment on Wednesday. If the matter is not resolved, it may create some unease during the high-level segment which will be attended by heads of State and government and other dignitaries. India’s environment minister Harsh Vardhan will represent the country during the high-level segment.

Australia moves into top three countries for renewable investment: Research

LONDON: Australia has moved into the three most attractive countries in the world for renewables investment for the first time due to rapid solar photovoltaic (PV) deployment, research showed on Tuesday.

In a bi-annual index of the top 40 renewable energy markets worldwide by consultancy EY, the United States held on to top spot, followed by China.

Australia rose to third place, from fourth in the last ranking in May, while India climbed to fourth from seventh due to record low solar tariff bids and a new target for renewables generation, EY said.

Australia has deployed more than 10 gigawatts of roof-mounted solar PV, by far the largest per capita rooftop-PV deployment in the world. Its plans for renewable energy export links to Asia also helped elevate its position.

However, Australia’s renewables investment fell in the second quarter due to the COVID-19 crisis and policy uncertainty and the government continues to subsisdise both the natural gas and oil refining industries as part of efforts to revitalise the economy.

“Despite policy uncertainty – and issues with grid stability and price volatility – the index indicates that Australia could be set to become a green energy exporting leader,” EY said.

France sank to seventh place from third as renewable energy auctions were postponed indefinitely and planned retroactive cuts to solar subsidies.

Other countries to rise up the rankings were Britain, Portugal, Morocco, Taiwan, Poland and South Korea, while Germany, Denmark and Mexico were among those which fell.