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The irreplaceable affinity of our taste buds with salt is beyond the shakers kept on our dining tables. The series of reactions within the Chemistry labs confines have been the “labor rooms” for almost all known salts to humanity. The kitchens are incomplete without the cans of these white powders. So are our plates filled with dishes. After all, we cannot ignore its might.
The typical Indian women are too precautious and vigilant in adding this ingredient to their daily eatables. Or else, they might land up in the “witness boxes” of guilt either for its excessive or lower content before the court of their hubbies. A pinch of salt can do wonders.
The uncommon mastery of the common salt on the Arabian Sea’s shores and the Bay of Bengal doesn’t end here. These ‘salty’ elites have been the British legacy product when the colonial administration intended to unleash a series of reforms in the country’s salt administration.
There can be no parallel civilization in the entire world that knows the significance of salt, unlike the Indians. The Salt Satyagraha’s reminiscences launched by Mahatma Gandhi in 1930 as a powerful non-violent agitation against the imperialists’ salt monopoly, which called for the illegal production of salt from the seawater, still lingers in the hearts and minds of the populace.
About the service.
These ‘less glamorous’ bureaucrats owe their courtesy to their patron William Chichele Plowden, who pioneered the alterations in the salt governance of British India in 1856. Under its commercial value, they brought the salt under the provincial governments’ tax regime, which they later revoked through the Government of India Act (1935). Since then, the salt department was made a matter under the central list.
The Seventh Schedule of India’s Constitution provides the assignment of monitoring, regulation, and supervision of the manufacturing, supply, and distribution of salt and quality updating and standardization with the Government of India.
The creation of an Indian Salt Service in 1954 was, in actuality, an act of ‘sprinkling the old salt in a new pot.’ The Salt Controller, Deputy Controller, and Assistant Controller positions have been re-designated as Salt Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, and Assistant Commissioner respectively as early as in 1952 itself.
They changed the earlier parent control of these ‘salt men’ from the Central Board of Revenue (Ministry of Finance) to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. They also manpower Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) such as;
- Hindustan Salts Ltd
- Sambhar Salts Ltd
Despite these posts of power’s occupancy by the nation’s brilliant minds, the Indian Salt Service has failed miserably in showcasing its prowess and shine.
The lack of awareness among the people constitutes the major factor towards this mounting trend of ignorance. The popularization of this elite ‘salt class’ is urgent to woo the young minds towards this career.
I admit the onus is on the government that it couldn’t afford to pay Lara Dutta or Priyanka Chopra, unlike the corporate giant – Colgate – to spread the presence of ‘salt’ in the toothpaste, but not the government.