The Tea Board of India
The Indian government established “The Tea Board of India” in 1953 with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, to increase the production, domestic trade, and export of tea. “The Tea act” was finally introduced and established on April 1, 1954. It was headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal, and headed by the Deputy Chairman Mr. P.K. Sahoo.
The Board comprises 31 members inclusive of the Chairman.
- They are Members of Parliament, tea producers, traders, brokers, and consumers.
- And government officials from major tea-producing states.
- Trade unions can also become members of the board. Every 3 years the Board is reset.
Why was the Tea Board of India Set Up?
Tea was introduced to India in 1836 by the British to counterattack the Chinese monopoly in the tea market.
- To Reduce fraudulent labelling of unique tea harvested in Darjeeling. Since inconsistency was found in the Darjeeling Tea being sold in the international market and the licensed exporters.
- Promote the wide variety of tea production, and also provide financial support for the research related to tea packaging and to enhance the benefits of Tea.
- Coordinate with tea trade and government agencies to support consistent development in the global and domestic markets.
The Functions of the Tea Board of India:
1. The Secretariat handles administrative/policy matters and deals with issues relating to the employees of the Tea Board office.
2. The finance wing is responsible for maintaining financial records, any monetary assistance and internal audits.
3. There is Development Directorate for the developmental schemes and various assistance to the industry in the production, procurement, distribution, and other essential operational requirements.
4. The Promotion Directorate decides on tea marketing and promotion activities in India and abroad.
5. The responsibility for the tea research by various tea research institutions and Tea Board’s own Research Station is carried by the Research Directorate.
6. Licensing department headed by Licensing Controller deals with similar issues
– Business licenses for tea exporters and distributors
– Record the ownership of all tea gardens in India
– Check out the Tea Waste and Tea Warehouse.
7. The Labor Welfare Department deals with the work related to the Welfare schemes of the Board.
8. Another very important charge is the collection of Statistics relating to tea area production, tea prices, export, import, labour, and all other related data.
9. The Law Cell and Hindi Cell to take care of the legal matters and the implementation of the rules set in the regional areas.
10. The Deputy Chairman of the board Heads Tea Board’s Vigilance Cell. Its task is supervision and to take appropriate action against any complaints. They prepare Monthly and Quarterly Reports and send them to the Ministry of Commerce and the Central Vigilance Commission.
The Current Scenario of the Tea Board of India:
India is the second-largest producer of Tea in the world. Also, the fourth-biggest exporters, after China, Sri Lanka, and Kenya.
However, the basic reality is totally different as:
- Production is stagnant and of a low export quality Tea leaf.
- Financial constraints have led to low investment in plantations and there on steep fall in the quality of ‘Tea leaf’.
- A massive lack of infrastructure and significant labour issues have arisen due to the demand for rising labour costs.
Other problems like Climatic change and increase in transportation costs further worsened the situation and many organized players left the sector. Resulting in an increase in the number of small tea producers who do not comply with the Plantation Act and the Tea Act.
Thus, currently, when things are getting out of control the Commerce ministry is trying its level best to bring the Tea sector back to the growth track through new legislation and reforms.
Which may finally take off the nationalistic and socialistic governmental age-old regulation on the industry. And the modified Tea act works more like a provider, not as a controller.