Tea industry is occupying a very important place in Indian economy. It is also one of the traditional industries of the country. In the initial part of 19th century tea plantation was started in India by the British planters. In 1933 tea plantation was started in Assam. In 1938, India exported tea for the first time in England.
After that in 1965 some tea gardens were established in India with lie patronage of the Government. Later on the tea industry started to expand under the patronage, ownership and management of European merchants. In this way more than 60 per cent of the tea gardens established in India were under the ownership of European merchants.
In 1955, total area under tea cultivation in the whole country was 3.2 lakh hectares.
India is the major producer of tea, producing maximum amount of tea among all the tea producing countries of the world. Total number of workers engaged in the tea industry of India is around 11 lakh. In India tea is produced in the states like Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and East Punjab. Assam alone produces more than 50 per cent of the total tea produced in India.
Tea industries in India had to face serious setback during 1956 with the fall in the price of tea in the international market at a very low level. Since then Government has taken various measures for the development of this industry. Reserve Bank of India and other commercial banks have advanced a huge amount of loan for the development of this industry.
Total production of tea is thus gradually increased from 277 million kgs in 1950-51 to 423 million kgs in 1970-71 and then to 568 million kgs in 1980-81 and finally to 967 million kgs in 2010-11. The provisional production figures for 2013-14 are 1208.8 million kgs.
Jute industry is one of the most important traditional industries in India. The Jute industry was established for the first time in India in the year 1885. The first power driven jute mill was set up at Rishra, near Kolkata.
After that a number of Jute mills began to set up near Kolkata just by the two sides of Hoogly River. During 1930, i.e. during the period of great depression, this industry had to face a serious setback. But during the Second World War this industry had again reached to its peak position.
At present there are 73 Jute mills in India with nearly 44,990 looms out of which only 70 units are in operation.
Total production of Jute textiles in India has gradually increased from 837 thousand tonnes in 1950-51 to 1060 thousand tonnes in 1970-71 and then to 1392 thousand tonnes in 1980-81 and then declined to 1200 thousand tonnes in 1987-88. But the production again increased to 1450 thousand tonnes in 1990-91 and then again declined to 1310 thousand tonnes in 1992-93 and finally increased to 1591 thousand tonnes in 1999-2000.
But the total volume of export of Jute textiles in India has been declining from 790 thousand tonnes in 1950-51 to 640 thousand tonnes in 1970-71 and then to 121 thousand tonnes in 1997-98.
On the contrary total consumption of Jute textiles within the country has increased from 120 thousand tonnes in 1950-51 to 480 thousand tonnes in 1970-71 and then to 1230 thousand tonnes in 1990-91. Since the partition of the country, Jute industry has been facing a serious crisis due to acute shortage in the supply of raw jute. At present more than 70 per cent of the area under jute lies in Bangladesh.
In 1951, total production of raw jute in India was only 3.3 million bales as compared to its total requirement of 72 million bales. To meet this gap, various programmes were undertaken during the plans for intensive and extensive cultivation of jute in the country.
Accordingly, the yield per hectare rose from 1040 kgs in 1950- 51 to 1800 kgs in 1990-91. As a result of which total production of raw jute has increased gradually to 4.9 million bales in 1970-71 to 10.9 million bales in 1985-86 and then to 16.2 million bales in 1989-90 and then declined to 10.9 million bales in 1991-92. In-spite of being the largest producer of raw jute in the world, its total production is still insufficient to meet its own requirement.
The Jute Corporation of India was established by the Government for undertaking price support, commercial and buffer stock operations and for export and import of jute. Total production of jute textiles also rose from 8.9 lakh tonnes in 1950-51 to 14.3 lakh tonnes in 1990-91 and the production declined to 12.9 lakh tonnes in 1991-92.
Jute industry has now diversified their products and the mills are now producing also cotton bagging, jute tarpaulin, jute carpets, carpet backing, paper lined hessian, jute webbing and jute cloth.
As on January, 2012, total number of looms installed in jute industry stood at 49,529. During 2012-13 (April-March), total production of jute goods was at 1591.3 thousand MT compared to 1582.4 thousand MT in the corresponding period of 2011-12 showing a marginal rise of 0.6 per cent over the previous year.