Assam to give Rs. 182 crore to 6.58 lakh tea laborers for opening bank accounts

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Guwahati: More than 13 months after the Modi government announced demonetization, the BJP-led government in Assam on January 2 formally launched an award scheme through which it would put Rs 2,500 in bank accounts of over 6.58 lakh tea plantation laborers who had opened bank accounts for the first time in November 2016.
Christened as ‘Chah Bagichar Dhan Puraskar’ scheme, it was launched in Tinsukia, a major tea-producing district in upper Assam on January 2, with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal ceremonially distributing cheques worth Rs 2,500 each to a group of such tea plantation laborers who had earlier never seen a bank.
“It is very encouraging that lakhs of tea plantation laborers who had received their wages in cash for three to four generations, have so wonderfully adapted themselves and started operating bank accounts after their wages were transferred to banks following the demonetization process in November 2016,” Sonowal said.
While over 6.58 lakh tea plantation laborers who opened bank accounts after November 2016 would receive Rs 2,500 each, the Assam government would deposit another Rs 2,500 in the accounts of those who have maintained it for six months continuously, Sonowal announced. The entire exercise would cost the state government about Rs 182 crore, he said.
“The tea garden community constitutes an important segment of the demography of Assam and they have been contributing selflessly to the promotion of our state’s economy. Our government is working to bring them under the ambit of a broad spectrum of financial inclusion,” Sonowal said.
Underscoring the contribution of the tea laborers’ community in strengthening the socio-economic fabric of the state, Sonowal acknowledged the problems faced by the community since ages.
“It has been one of the commitments of our government to solve all the problems faced by the people belonging to tea community. If they lag behind, the overall development of the state would also suffer. Our government will take all possible steps for ameliorating their condition and ensuring their development,” he said.
Finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on his part thanked the tea plantation laborers’ community for responding to the government’s appeal for opening bank accounts during the demonetization period and said that all bank account holders would also be entitled to various government facilities including the Prime Minister’s Suraksha Bima Yojana.
“Our government would soon launch another scheme wherein every pregnant woman belonging to the tea community will be given Rs 12,000 to look after her nutritional needs and support the family before three months of her delivery without even going to work,” Sarma said.

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