New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday approved that 100% of the foodgrains and 20% of the sugar shall be mandatorily packed in diversified jute bags.
"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 percent 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," an official release said.
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 percent of the production of foodgrains over and above the provisions, it added.
"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 release said.
Union Cabinet, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, while briefing reporters, said the decision will benefit about 4 lakh workers engaged in the jute sector along with thousands of farmers.
Jute is primarily grown in West Bengal, Odisha, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Andhra Pradesh.