Jute packaging order extended

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved extension of the Jute Packaging Order that mandates that 100 per cent of foodgrains and 20 per cent of sugar shall be packed in diversified jute bags.

The decision to pack sugar in diversified jute bags will give an impetus to the diversification of the jute industry. Further, the decision also mandates that initially 10 per cent of the indents of jute bags for packing foodgrains would be placed through reverse auction on the Gem portal. This will gradually usher in a regime of price discovery.  The government has expanded the scope of mandatory packaging norms under the Jute Packaging Material (JPM) Act, 1987.
In case of any shortage or disruption in supply of jute packaging material or in other contingency/exigency, the ministry of textiles may, in consultation with the user ministries concerned, relax these provisions further, up to a maximum of 30 per cent of the production of foodgrains over and above the provisions.
With nearly 3.7 lakh workers and several lakh farm families dependent on the jute sector, the government has been making concerted efforts for the development of jute sector by increasing the quality and productivity of raw jute, diversification of jute sector and also boosting and sustaining demand for jute products.
The approval will benefit farmers and workers located in the eastern and northeastern regions of the country, particularly in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura.
Under the Jute Packaging Materials (Compulsory use in Packing Commodities) Act, 1987, 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 thereof. Therefore, the reservation norms in the present proposal would further the interest of production of raw jute and jute packaging material in India, thereby, making India self-reliant in line with Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
The jute industry is predominantly dependent on government sector, which purchases jute bags of value of more than Rs7,500 crore every year for packing foodgrains. This is done in order to sustain the core demand for the jute sector and to support the livelihood of the workers and farmers dependent on the sector.
In order to improve the productivity and quality of raw jute through a carefully designed intervention, called the Jute ICARE, the government has been supporting close to 2 lakh jute farmers by disseminating improved agronomic practices such as line sowing using seed drills, weed management by using wheel-hoeing and nail-weeders, distribution of quality certified seeds and also providing microbial assisted retting. These interventions have resulted in enhancing the quality and productivity of raw jute and increasing income of jute farmers by Rs10,000 per hectare.
Recently, the Jute Corporation of India has entered into an MoU with National Seeds Corporation for distribution of 10,000 quintals of certified seeds on commercial basis to farmers. The intervention of technology upgradation and distribution of certified seeds would increase productivity and quality of jute crops and also increase the income of the farmers.
In order to support diversification of jute sector, the National Jute Board has collaborated with National Institute of Design and a Jute Design Cell has been opened at Gandhinagar. Further, promotion of Jute Geo Textiles and Agro-Textiles has been taken up with the state governments particularly those in the North Eastern region and also with departments such as ministry of road transport and the ministry of water resources.
In order to boost demand in the jute sector, Government of India has imposed Definitive Anti-Dumping Duty on import of jute goods from Bangladesh and Nepal with effect from 5 January 2017.
To promote transparency in jute sector, Jute SMART, an e-govt initiative was launched in December, 2016, providing an integrated platform for procurement of B-Twill sacking by government agencies. Further, the JCI is transferring 100 per cent funds to jute farmers online for jute procurement under MSP and commercial operations.