New Delhi, November 23: The government gave an approving nod to make jute packaging mandatory for all food grains to 100% from the earlier 80%. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved that 100 per cent of the food grains and 20 per cent of the sugar shall be mandatorily packed in diversified jute bags.
The move taken by the government has expanded the scope of Jute Packaging Material (JPM) Act, 1987, that retained an earlier decision that 20 per cent of the sugar shall be mandatorily packed in diversified jute bags.Initially, 10 per cent of the indents of jute bags for packing food grains would be placed through reverse auction on the GeM (Government e-Marketplace) portal. This will gradually usher in a regime of price discovery.
The move is significant as nearly 3.7 lakh workers and several lakh farm families are dependent for their livelihood on the jute sector. The jute industry is predominantly dependent on the government sector, which purchases jute bags worth more than Rs 6,500 crore every year for packing food grains.
The decision is supposed to benefit farmers and workers located in the Eastern and North Eastern regions of the country particularly in the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura.
The government interventions have resulted in enhancing the quality and productivity of raw jute and increasing income of jute farmers by Rs 10,000 per hectare.
In this connection, to support jute farmers, Jute Corporation of India (JCI) has been given a grant of Rs. 100 crore for two years to enable JCI to conduct MSP operations and ensure price stabilization in the jute sector. Also with a view to boost demand in the jute sector, the Centre has imposed definitive anti-dumping duty on import of jute goods from Bangladesh and Nepal. This has resulted 13 Twine mills in Andhra Pradesh to resume operation, benefitting 20,000 workers.