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The Eastern Today

"At least 6.42 lakh tea labourers in Assam now got bank accounts"

January 12, 2017 12:08AM

ET Bureau I Guwahati

Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said while attending the “Digi-dhan mela” organised by the state IT department here on Wednesday

Due to the situation created since the launch of demonetisation on November 8, majority of Assam’s 7.79 lakh tea plantation labourers who had never seen a bank in their life have now not only opened bank accounts but many have also started receiving their wages through banks. Disclosing this here on Wednesday, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said while this was a record of sorts given the short duration and the education and literacy status of the large number of tea labourers, it also proved beyond doubt that the BJP government’s digitisation and move for a less-cash economy was being accepted even by people at the lowest rung.

“Immediately after demonetisation, our government successfully managed the smooth payment of wages of tea garden labourers with active support of the banks. The result is, over 6.42 lakh of the 7.79 lakh tea labourers across Assam have opened bank accounts in a very short span of time,” Sarma said. He was speaking at a “Digi-dhan mela” organised by the state IT department here on Wednesday.

Claiming this to be the biggest success story in the post-demonetisation situation, Sarma also said this initiative had helped the socially and economically empower the huge chunk of marginalised and disadvantaged tea labourers, and that too within about two months.

Sarma also described demonetisation as a blessing for the state government, and said that it had enhanced tax collection in the state by 18 per cent in November and 21 per cent in December. “This is the highest in the entire country,” Sarma said, pointing out that 18 different types of financial incentives announced by the Sarbananda Sonowal government to promote electronic payment had also contributed towards this increase in tax collection.

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