Guwahati, March 27 (IANS) A Rajya Sabha member from Assam Tuesday demanded that tea be declared India's national drink.
Birendra Prasad Baishya raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha, saying tea consumption had become a way of life in the country.
"Tea is not just a product or commodity but a culture... The word 'chai' reverberates from east to west and from north to south," Baishya pointed out while drawing attention to the issue.
"Tea has contributed immensely to the economic growth and social developments in India," he added.
According to him, 83 percent of all households in India consumes tea. This is increasing at the rate of 3 percent annually.
"India is the biggest producer of Black Tea in the world with a turnover of Rs.10,000 crore annually," he said.
Baishya also spoke about the medicinal qualities of tea.
"I therefore urge the government to declare tea as the national drink of India," he said.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had said earlier that the state, where tea was discovered in 1823, would urged the central government to declare tea as the national drink.
The move has cheered several groups like the North Eastern Tea Association (NETA), Assam Tea Planters Association (ATPA) and Bharatiya Cha Parishad (BCP).
"Tea undoubtedly deserves this coveted tag," NETA chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty told IANS.
Assam is the largest tea producing state of the country.
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