Mandatory use of jute in packaging foodgrains, sugar in India fixed at 90 per cent

The cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) has fixed the mandatory use of jute bags for packaging foodgrains and sugar at 90 per cent of production for the Jute Year 2011-12 (July 2011 to June 2012).

However, sugar packed for export but which could not be exported will be exempted from the operation of order under the Jute Packaging Material (JPM) Act, on the basis of an assessment by and request of the department of food and public distribution.

The government will prepare separate guidelines for such exemptions, an official release said.

Other commodities which will be out of the purview of the reservation for jute packaging materials include:

  • Sugar fortified with Vitamins;
  • Packaging for export of the commodities;
  • Small consumer packs of 25 kg and below; and
  • Bulk packaging of more than 100 kg.

In case of any shortage or disruption in supply of jute packaging material or in other contingency/exigency, the ministry of textiles will, in consultation with the user ministries concerned, relax these provisions further, up to a maximum of 20 per cent of the production of foodgrains and sugar, the release said.

The decision will provide relief to 3.7 lakh workers employed in jute mills and ancillary units as well as support the livelihood of around 4 million families. Besides, it will help protect the environment because jute is natural, biodegradable and reusable fibre.

Under the Jute Packaging Materials (Compulsory use in Packing Commodities) Act, 1987 (JPM Act), the government is required to consider and provide for the compulsory use of jute packaging material in the supply and distribution of certain commodities in the interest of production of raw jute and jute packaging material and of persons engaged in the production and for connected matters.