IT BASED INFORMATION DISSEMINATION PLAN FOR TEA INDUSTRY
Date : 30 Jul 2003
Location : New Delhi
As a major step towards reorienting the tea industry in India in the changed global scenario and as part of a medium term export strategy for the commodity, government has approved implementation of an IT based information dissemination programme. Accordingly, the Tea Board has prepared an IT Plan for implementation over the next 5 years, with a capital outlay of Rs. 9.93 crores, which has been approved by the government. The core activity under the Plan is the setting up of a "Tea Portal" to disseminate vital information across various segments of the industry, covering areas like market profiles, exporter rating, production, quality control, statistics, research & development, trade-related information, taxation/duty structure, schemes, notifications, weather data, latest news and most crucially, domestic auction and international prices.
In order to provide real time information on prices, the Plan envisages the capture of trends at the weekly tea auctions across various centres in the country and instant dissemination of the same through the Tea Portal. To streamline this activity, the Government has given the nod to the Tea Board for E-trading of tea at all the licensed auction centres within the current year. A provision of nearly Rs. 4.30 crore has been made in the IT Plan for auction centre infrastructure alone. It is expected that this would lead to greater transparency at the auctions and efficient price discovery in the primary market. Moreover, the auctions would get speeded up and there would be a reduction in the back office costs for all stakeholders, including sellers, brokers and buyers, besides providing a powerful MIS facility in their hands.
The IT Plan provides for information dissemination in remote locations, such as plantation areas inhabited by small growers and relatively unconnected through the traditional means of communication. The Tea Portal, besides giving market information to the growers in such areas, would also strive to address their needs on farm technology through IT based extension as well as query handling. Ultimately, it would provide a common platform to all segments of the tea industry to share their experiences for mutual benefit.
The IT Plan also envisages the establishment of an efficient data collection mechanism, as well as timely collation and publication of the same through the Tea Portal. A dedicated IT cell is sought to be put in place in the Tea Board for the smooth operation of the Plan and for achieving the desired objectives. Government expects that the entire infrastructure, including the software, hardware and communication elements, which will incorporate cutting-edge technology, will be in place before March 2004. While the Tea Board would bear the initial cost of the initiative, in due course the Tea Portal would aim to become self-sustaining with the support of the tea industry.
Under the medium term export strategy, termed "Operation Vijay", several front-end and back-end activities have already been taken up including "Information dissemination" through the application of Information Technology. Lack of information flow to the international buyers about Indian tea on the one hand, and inadequate feedback on foreign markets to Indian tea producers on the other, are factors responsible for the faltering tea exports from the country. It was therefore felt necessary to leverage the advances made in Internet technology to disseminate useful and requisite information to all the stakeholders in the tea industry.