Govt approves mandatory packaging of food grains in jute bags

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October 29, 2020 7:46 PM

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 over Rs 7,500 crore annually for packing food grains.

The decision on the extension of norms for mandatory packaging in jute materials was taken at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. (File image)

To help the jute industry, the government on Thursday decided to extend the norms for mandatory packaging of 100 per cent food grains and 20 per cent sugar in diversified jute bags.

The decision on the extension of norms for mandatory packaging in jute materials was taken at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

“The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved that 100 per cent of the foodgrains and 20 per cent of the sugar shall be mandatorily packed in diversified jute bags,” said an official release.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, while briefing media after the Cabinet meeting, said the CCEA decision will benefit farmers and workers located in the eastern and north-eastern regions of the country, particularly in West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura.

Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said that the decision will benefit 3.7 lakh workers and 40 lakh farmers, especially in West Bengal.

“Government purchases over Rs 7,500 crore worth jute bags to sustain core demand of the sector. Decision to provide extension for mandatory package in Jute material will further boost demand for jute and support livelihood of Jute workers,” Irani said in a tweet.

The decision also mandates that initially 10 per cent of the indents of jute bags for packing food grains would be placed through a reverse auction on the Gem portal, the release said.

“This will gradually usher in a regime of price discovery,” it said, adding 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 the 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”, the release noted.

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 over Rs 7,500 crore annually for packing food grains.

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 domestic production of raw jute and jute packaging material in the country, thereby, making India self-reliant in consonance with Aatmanirbhar Bharat, the release said.

The ‘Jute ICARE’ interventions have resulted in enhancing the quality and productivity of raw jute and increasing income of jute farmers by Rs 10,000 per hectare, it added.

Under the Jute ICARE, the government has been supporting about two 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.

Recently, the Jute Corporation of India has entered into MoU with National Seeds Corporation for distribution of 10,000 quintals of certified seeds on commercial basis also.

The intervention of technology up-gradation and distribution of certified seeds would increase the productivity and quality of jute crops and also boost the income of the farmers, the official release said.

With a view to support the diversification of jute sector, the National Jute Board has collaborated with the National Institute of Design and a Jute Design Cell has been opened in Gandhinagar.

Further, the promotion of Jute Geo Textiles and Agro-Textiles have 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 Ministry of Water Resources.

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