The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce wants tea to be declared as a ‘National Drink’.
In its 102nd report on performance of plantation sector, the panel has recommended that the Department of Commerce considers declaring tea a national drink, keeping in mind the growing demand from industry stake-holders and the heritage value it carried.
“Also, its essential presence in the life of every Indian, directly or indirectly, assumes sufficient reason to declare it as a national drink,” the panel said.
About 83 per cent of the households in India consumed tea, while the penetration of tea is purportedly in the range of 96 to 99 per cent in both urban and rural areas of the country. “Probably no other beverage in the world had such high-level of penetration”.
The panel felt that declaring tea as a national drink would give it desired prominence in promotional schemes and activities, strengthening the beverage’s association with India in global markets and helping in exports.
The tea industry stakeholders have been demanding a national status drink for some time now. Though the matter has been examined by the Commerce Ministry in 2006, no decision has been taken yet.
Tea is grown in an area of over 5.8 lakh ha in the country and the industry provides direct and indirect employment to over 11 million people. The country offers the widest range of teas in terms of taste, strength and flavour. India is the fourth largest exporter of tea with a share of about 12 per cent of global exports.