The central government has approved Reservation norms for mandatory use of jute packaging for the Jute Year 2021-22 (1st July, 2021 to 30th June, 2022). 100% of food grains and 20% of sugar will be compulsorily packed in sacking bags, the ministry of textiles informed via a release.
The industry occupies an important part of the country's economy and the eastern region in particular, including West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Under the Jute Packaging Material Act (JPM Act), the reservation norms provide direct employment to 3.7 lakh workers and 40 lakh farmers in the sector. The interests of farmers, workers and persons engaged in production of goods are protected by the JPM Act, 1987.
Sacking Bags take 75% of the total production of the industry, of which 90% is supplied to Food Corporation of India (FCI) and State Procurement Agencies (SPAs) and the remaining is exported or sold directly.
The government ensures a guaranteed market for the produce by purchasing approximately ₹8,000 crores worth of Jute sacking bags every year. Average production of sacking bags is 30 lakhs bales (9 lakh MT) and the government, in order to protect the interests of the people involved in the industry, is ready to take all of the sacking production.
The proposed reservation norms will further the interest of domestic production of raw jute and packaging material in India. This will make the country self reliant, in line with the government's vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
In 2020-2021, the reservation for packaging material was 66.57% of the raw jute produced in the country. The decision will also help protect the environment as jute is natural, biodegradable, renewable and reusable fibre and hence fulfills all sustainability parameters.
ALSO READ: Assam: Another Paper Mill Employee Dies