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Cabinet Committee Approves Reservation Norms for Jute Packaging Materials for Jute Year 2023-24

This strategic move not only strengthens the jute industry but also reinforces the government's commitment to sustainable practices and the well-being of its citizens.

Shivam Dwivedi
Cabinet Committee Approves Reservation Norms for Jute Packaging Materials for Jute Year 2023-24 (Photo Source: Pexels)
Cabinet Committee Approves Reservation Norms for Jute Packaging Materials for Jute Year 2023-24 (Photo Source: Pexels)

In a significant move to promote sustainability, support local industries, and safeguard the livelihoods of thousands, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its nod to reservation norms for the mandatory use of jute in packaging for the Jute Year 2023-24 (1st July, 2023, to 30th June, 2024).

The decision, taken on December 8, 2023, mandates that 100% of foodgrains and 20% of sugar must be packed in jute bags during this period. This initiative, under the Jute Packaging Materials (Compulsory Use in Packing Commodities) Act, aims to fortify the domestic production of raw jute and jute packaging materials in India. The move aligns with the vision of Aatmnirbhar Bharat, promoting self-reliance and sustainability in the country.

The reservation norms outlined in the proposal are expected to have a substantial impact, with around 65% of the raw jute produced in the country (in 2022-23) dedicated to packaging. By enforcing these regulations, the government seeks to provide relief to approximately 4 lakh workers employed in jute mills and ancillary units, while also supporting the livelihoods of around 40 lakh farm families.

Apart from the economic implications, the decision underscores the commitment to environmental conservation. Jute, being a natural, biodegradable, renewable, and reusable fiber, aligns with all sustainability parameters. By prioritizing jute packaging, the government aims to contribute to environmental protection.

The Jute industry holds a significant position in the national economy, especially in the Eastern Region, including states like West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. West Bengal, in particular, houses a major portion of the jute industry.

Under the Jute Packaging Materials Act of 1987, these reservation norms will directly generate employment for 4 lakh workers and support the livelihoods of 40 lakh farmers associated with the Jute sector.

Seventy-five percent of the total jute industry production comprises Jute Sacking Bags, of which 85% is supplied to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and State Procurement Agencies (SPAs), with the remaining portion being exported or sold directly. The Government of India's annual purchase of Jute sacking bags, amounting to approximately Rs. 12,000 crore, guarantees a market for the produce of Jute Farmers and Workers.

The average production of Jute Sacking Bags is around 30 lakhs bales (9 lakh MT), and the government is steadfast in ensuring the complete off-take of the jute bags' production to protect the interests of Jute farmers, workers, and those engaged in the Jute Industry.

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