With an eye on upcoming assembly elections, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman disbursed Rs 3,000 to each of the 7 lakh tea garden workers in Guwahati on Saturday (February 6). The total allocation is of Rs 224 crore.
Assam goes to polls in March-April this year.
“Before 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Narendra Modi ji had wished to work for the uplift of tea garden workers and accordingly several schemes were launched after the NDA came to power,” Sitharaman said during the third tranche of Assam Chah Bagicha Dhan Puraskar Mela Scheme in the state capital.
Under the scheme, additional Rs 3,000 each will be credited to the bank accounts of 7,46,667 tea workers. Each worker had earlier received Rs 5,000 in two installments. The beneficiaries received the amount by way of direct benefit transfer (DBT).
Stressing on the benefits of DBT, the Finance Minister said the Centre has done away with middlemen which is a great advantage for the tea workers. “PM Modi favoured using technology for the benefit of people while implementing the schemes and so the concept of DBT was introduced. Due to this, middlemen were totally eliminated and the benefits reached directly to the beneficiaries,” she said.
Union Budget 2021-22 has made a provision of Rs 1,000 crore for women (and also their children) working in tea gardens in Assam and West Bengal.
Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “We spent Rs 158 crore in the first year and it increased to Rs 202 crore during the second year. The scheme won’t stop here at Rs 3,000 each as we have already begun the process to send such an amount every month.”