Tea growers of Assam have urged the Centre to declare the beverage India’s national drink. No surprise, considering that India has the largest tea-drinking population in the world. The demand was made by Neta (North Eastern Tea Association) in Golaghat last week. The association has asked the state government to first declare it a state drink in order to persuade the Centre to follow suit. Neta has some fascinating facts on tea. India consumes about 800 million kg of tea every year. And Assam’s 180 year-old-tea industry accounts for 51 per cent of India’s tea and 13 per cent of global tea production. “Fifty per cent of tea workers are women, and hence, Assam’s tea industry is the single largest employer of women,” the Neta chairman says.