New Delhi, Oct 29 : The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday approved that 100 per cent of the foodgrains and 20 per cent of the sugar will be mandatorily packed in diversified jute bags, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said here.
Addressing mediapersons here after the Cabinet meeting, Mr Javadekar said 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.
Considering that nearly 3.7 lakh workers and several lakh farm families are dependent for their livelihood on the jute sectors, the government has been making concerted efforts for the development of jute sector; 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 North Eastern 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 (hereinafter “the 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 thereof. Therefore, the reservation norms in present proposal would further the interest of domestic production of raw jute and jute packaging material in India, thereby, making India self-reliant in consonance with Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.
The jute industry is predominantly dependent on Government sector which purchases jute bags of value of more than Rs 7,500 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.