NEW DELHI, AUG 8:
Amidst demand that tea should be declared a ‘national drink’, the government on Friday said according such a status to a particular beverage may impact growth of the entire sector.
Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the government has received representations from some quarters seeking to declare tea as a national drink of India.
“Based on consultations with a cross section of plantation sector and taking into account the views expressed by various stakeholders including the state governments on the relative importance and role of competing beverages and drinks, it has been decided that declaring one particular beverage as national drink may adversely impact on the growth of beverage industry as a whole,” she said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.
India is the world’s second largest tea producer after China. India’s tea production in 2013-14 increased by about 8 per cent to 1,224.48 million kg on account of higher output in Assam and West Bengal.
Assam and West Bengal are the major tea-producing states, accounting for 80 per cent of India’s total output. Tea production in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka was up 13 per cent at 244.47 million kg.
Replying to a separate question, she said so far 15 rounds of negotiations have been held on India-EU free trade agreement and since then “EU has largely been disengaged from the negotiation”. The last round was held in May last year here.
Launched in June, 2007, the negotiations for the proposed Broadbased Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) between India and the 27-nation European bloc has witnessed many hurdles with both sides having major differences on crucial issues.