Cabinet approves 100% mandatory packaging of food grains in jute bags

Prakash Javadekar

New Delhi (NVI): The Union Cabinet today approved that that 100 per cent of the foodgrains and 20 per cent of the sugar shall be mandatorily packed in diversified jute bags..

The decision was announced by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

An official statement said that, “The decision to pack sugar in diversified jute bags will give an impetus to the diversification of the jute industry.”

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

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, the Ministry of Textiles, in consultation with the user Ministries concerned, will relax these provisions further, up to a maximum of 30 per cent of the production of food grains over and above the provisions.

Moreover, the decision will benefit nearly 4 lakh workers engaged in the jute sector along with thousands of farmers.

The approval will also 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 statement said.

Under 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 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 food grains.

In addition to this, the government has been making concerted efforts for the development of jute sector by increasing the quality and productivity of raw jute, diversification of jute sector and also boosting and sustaining demand for jute products.

-RJV