Should Tea be the National Drink of India?

India is world’s second largest tea producer after China. In 2007-08, India’s estimated tea production was 8 Lakh metric tons. In 2007, in India, there was an area of 578568 hectares under tea cultivation. Out of this 458718 hectares was in North India and 119740 hectares in South India.

Around 4.16 Lakh hectares was under big growers and around 1.62 Lakh hectares was under small growers. Half of Indian Tea comes from Assam.

Recently, in its 15th biennial general meeting, the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) has asked the state government to declare tea as the state drink. It also demanded that the state government should “persuade” the Central government to declared tea as a national drink. NETA comprises the small and medium tea growers in the state. Some facts noted, (which are correct):

  • Assam alone produces 51% of the country’s tea and 13% of the world.
  • Tea is already the national drink of Britain and China.
  • Tea should be awarded the status of both state and national drink because of the sheer popularity of the beverage and the long history associated with its cultivation in the state.
  • About 800 million kg of tea is consumed annually in the country, its consumption increasing annually at the rate of 3.3%.
  • 85% households in the country consume tea, making India the largest tea consuming country in the world.
  • In terms of volume, India is the largest tea consuming country in the world.
  • Eighty percent of India’s production is consumed in the country itself, which means 22% of the world’s production is consumed in India.
  • Genesis of Assam tea industry is virtually the genesis of Indian tea industry.
  • Assam is the birthplace of Indian tea. Total turnover of Assam tea industry is about Rs 5,000 crore.
  • Above all, Assam tea was one of India’s first offers to the world, predictably taking the world by storm.

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