The current economic turbulence has started to adversely affect the Indian economy and prices of plantation crops have fallen, he said. Rubber prices have dropped from Rs 145 in September 2008 to Rs 60 in December 2008, registering a decline of 59%. Tea prices have dropped by almost 20% during the same period.
The plantation industry had recently given a sustained increase in wages payable to workers, Cherian said. In the case of rubber, the increase has been as high as 70% and in the other crops, the rise in wages is 20% - 50%.
The sector cannot survive the crisis on its own and needs help from the government, he said. Passing the bill will enable plantations to promote floriculture, medicinal plants and tourism in the land and bring in additional revenue,Cherian added.