Commerce ministry may engage with Niti Aayog to rework draft bills on tea, coffee, 3 others

The commerce ministry is likely to engage with Niti Aayog to rework the five draft bills pertaining to cash crops tea, coffee, spices, rubber, and tobacco, an official said. Earlier this year, the ministry proposed the repeal and updation of decades-old laws on these sectors and to introduce new legislation with a view to promoting their growth and creating a conducive environment for businesses.

“Niti Aayog has raised certain objections with the ministry on these five bills. The issues were recently discussed in a meeting between senior officials. Niti Aayog suggested a relook and the ministry has sought its help on that,” the official said.

Niti Aayog has given its views on the drafts of Spices (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022; Rubber (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022; Coffee (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022; Tea (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022 and Tobacco Board (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

The ministry had earlier also conducted stakeholder consultations on these drafts to address their concerns.
Department of Commerce proposes the repeal of Tea Act, 1953; Spices Board Act, 1986; Rubber Act, 1947; Coffee Act, 1942 and updation of Tobacco Board Act, 1975 .

According to the draft bills posted on the website of the commerce ministry, the new proposed legislations reflect the present realities and objectives of these sectors.

Explaining the rationale behind the proposal to repeal the Rubber Act, the draft bill says that in recent years, there have been widespread changes in the industrial and economic scenario especially with regard to development in rubber and allied sectors.

The draft Coffee (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022, has underlined that substantive portions of the existing Act dealing with pooling and marketing of coffee have become redundant/inoperative.

According to draft Spices (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2022, there is a need to enable the Spices Board to provide focused attention across the entire supply chain of spices.

The ministry proposes repeal of the archaic Tea Act as there is a paradigm shift in the recent decade with respect to the way tea is grown, marketed and consumed.

The draft bill on tobacco seeks to update the existing law by promoting ease of doing business in the sector and enabling the functioning of a modern tobacco board.

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