Expanding the Jute Sector In India

By The Director (M & C), Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

New Delhi, Jan 20, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB-India) The Jute industry occupies an important place in the national economy of India.  It is one of the major industries in the eastern region, particularly in West Bengal.  Jute, the golden fibre, meets all the standards for ‘safe packaging in view of being a natural, renewable, biodegradable and econ-friendly product.  It is estimated that that the jute industry provides direct employment to 0.37 million workers in organized mills and in diversified units including tertiary sector and allied activities and support the livelihood of around 4.0 million farm families.  In addition, there are a large number of persons engaged in the trade of jute.

In the world perspective, India is the major producer of both raw jute and jute products.  Out of the total world production of Jute, Kenaf and allied fibre of 3.0 million tonnes in 2007-08, India produced 1.8 million tonnes.  In percentage terms, India accounted for 60 per cent of the world production in 2007-08.  Global production of jute and allied fibres is estimated to have increased by 25 per cent to 3.0 million tonnes in 2007-08 compared to 2004-05 season.  Production in India has also increased by 28 per cent to 1.8 million tonnes in 2007-09 over 2004-05.

There are 79 composite jute mills in India.  Out of the total 79 jute mills, 62 jute mills are located in West Bengal, 3 each in Bihar and U.P., 7 in Andhra Pradesh and one each in Assam, Orissa, Tripura and Chattisgarh.

Considering the significance of the Jute Sector, the Ministry of Textiles is taking measures to develop the jute sector into a strong and vibrant area that can compete in the domestic and global market  and ensure remunerative returns to the jute farmers. In furtherance of these objectives, the strategic thrust will be for a new Commodity Development Strategy incorporating the following:-
·          Research and Development of new variety of seeds;
·          Better  Technologies and processes for extraction of fibre,
·          Encouragement of  contract farming;
·          Stabilisation of raw jute prices through its buffer stock;
·          Development of markets for non-traditional products, such as, geo-textiles and composites;
·          Incentives to Jute Industry for modernization;
·          Continuation of Jute Technology Mission; and
·          Reduction of carbon emission to avail carbon credits.

In the interest of social equity and inclusive growth of the rural poor and artisans, the Government is intensifying its support to small and micro-enterprises, NGOs and Self Help Groups that produce and market jute diversified products. They are being supported with training, equipments and market linkages to become substantial producers of non-sacking jute products.

Revival of Jute Mills under NJMC Ltd.

A significant intervention by the Government in this sector is the revival of jute mills under the National Jute Manufacturers Corporation is a Public Sector Undertaking which has 6 jute mills under its jurisdiction that were nationalized in 1980s. All these 6 units of NJMC have not been in operation for periods ranging from 6 to 9 years.

The Government  has recently approved a Revival Package of Rs 1,562.98 crore and a waiver of Rs 6,815.06 crore of outstanding loans and interests to NJMC to enable the revival of the Company. The Revival Package include Running of 3 mills of NJMC which are the Kinnison and Khardah of Kolkata and Rai Bahadur Hardat Roy Mills of Katihar in Bihar. Closure of remaining 3 mills of Kolkata-National, Union and Alexendra. Generation of resources for the Revival Scheme will be through  sale of surplus assets of closed mills as well as that available in revived mills.

Based upon the Cabinet decision, the NJMC management is presently taking necessary steps for implementation of the Revival Scheme.

The revival of these mills will generate direct employment for more than 10,000 workmen in the States of West Bengal and Bihar.

MSP for Raw Jute and Mesta

Minimum Support Price (MSP) for raw jute and mesta is fixed every year to protect the interest of farmers.  While fixing prices of different grades, the issue of discouraging production of lower grade jute and encouraging production of higher grade jute are taken into consideration so as to motivate farmers to produce higher grade jute.

Jute Corporation of India (JCI), a PSU under the Ministry of Textiles, is the nodal agency to undertake support price operation for raw jute from the farmers.

Improving Working Conditions of Jute Workers

A new scheme under the Non-Plan funding has been put into operation with effect from  April 1, 2010, as per approval of the Ministry of Textiles, for the benefit of the workers of the jute industry.

The  “Schemes for Workers’ Welfare in Jute Sector” is for the  overall welfare and benefit of the workmen employed in Jute Mills and in small units producing jute diversified products.  The Schemes  provides for  sanitation, health facilities and working conditions in the mill sector; provision of incentives to the small and medium jute diversified products units for compliance with social audit including prescribed working conditions and  health facilities by way of extension of health insurance benefits for the mill sector on the same lines as the Rajiv Gandhi Shilpi Swasthya Bima Yojana and to the registered workers of the small and medium scale units employing a maximum of 25 workers each.  This will be implemented by the National Jute Board.  Under this Scheme, 12 units are under construction in 7 Jute Mills.

In addition, the Ministry has launched the “Integrated Skill Development Scheme” for upgradation of skills of workers working in textiles sector.  Jute Workers are also covered in the scheme.  Under this scheme, the Government has envisaged skill development for 27 lakh persons with an overall costs of 2360 cores over  the next five years.

National Jute Policy – 2005

Taking note of the new opportunities presented by the changing global environment of integration in the development of natural fibres, the strength and weaknesses of the jute sector in India and acknowledging the growing demand for diversified and innovative jute product in the world market, the Government announced the “National Jute Policy -2005” to redefine the goals and objectives, focus on thrust areas and sharpen strategy in tune with the times with a view to give the jute industry in India a fresh impetus in all respect.

The main objective of the policy is to facilitate the jute sector in India to attain and sustain a pre-eminent global standing in the manufacture and export of jute products by enabling the jute industry to build world–class state-of-the art manufacturing capabilities in conformity with environmental standards.  The policy seeks to strengthen R&D activities in agricultural practices with public-private partnerships with a vision to ensure remunerative prices to millions of jute farmers by enabling them to produce better quality jute fibre for value added diversified jute products and enhance per hectare yield of raw jute.

JPM Act, 1987

The Jute Packaging Materials (Compulsory Use in Packing Commodities) Act, 1987 (JPM ACT) came into operation with effect from  May 9, 1987.  It provides for the compulsory use of jute packaging material in the supply and distribution of certain commodities in the interests of production of raw jute and jute packaging material and of persons engaged in the production thereof and for matters concerned therewith.

Based on the recommendation of the SAC, the Government will decide the norms of compulsory packaging for the jute year 2010-11 (July-June) under the JPM Act, 1987, prescribing the norms of compulsory packaging for both food grains & sugar.  Accordingly, an order will be issued in the Official Gazette under the JPM Act, 1987, which will be valid till 30.06.2011.

Jute Technology Mission

The Government  launched  the Jute Technology Mission (JTM) spanning a period of 5 years during the 11th Five Year Plan period (2007-08 to 2011-12) for overall development of the jute industry and growth of the Jute Sector.  The Jute Technology Mission with a total outlay of Rs. 355.5 crore has four Mini Missions pertaining to agriculture research and seed development, agronomic practices, harvest and post harvest techniques, primary and secondary processing of raw jute, diversified product development and marketing and distribution.

The Jute Technology Mission has been divided into four Mini Missions and are being implemented by Ministries of Textiles and Agriculture.

Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme

The objective of the scheme is to sustain and improve the competitiveness of the textiles/jute industry and overall long term viability through technology upgradation.

The Investments made so  far for modernization of jute industry since 1999 through the Government schemes are  of the order of Rs. 722.29 cores.

(PIB Features)