Problems of jute sector in India

  • Shortage of raw material: India is not self-sufficient in raw material. The raw material is imported from Bangladesh and some other countries.
  • The problems are further aggravated by import of finished Jute products both legally and illegally. • Obsolete mill and machinery and it needed technology up gradation.
  • Indian jute goods had also to contend with synthetics such as Polypropylene which had shown promise of being an effective substitute for jute.
  • The Government had launched a Jute Technology Mission (JTM) in 2006.
  • Competition from the Bangladeshi jute products.
  • Decrease in demand by losing market to plastic, synthetic fibres and similar substitute products.
  • Strikes and lock outs in Jute Industry triggered the shutdown of jute mills.

History of jute sector

  • India’s first jute factory in India was established at Rishira, near Kolkata in 1854.
  • From 1863—64 onwards, however, growth of the industry was fairly rapid, occasional set-backs notwithstanding jute was the monopoly of India, and in this, the Bengal industry “furnished with the best mechanical appliances moved by steam” had a strong advantage.
  • Prior to independence, India had monopoly in the both production of raw jute and jute manufacturing.
  • The Second World War brought about a sea-change in the industry. The boom, however, proved short-lived.
  • Jute industry is marred with several problems right since independence.
  • On partition, most of Jute mills remained in India while major jute producing area went to East Pakistan (Now Bangladesh).
  • The problem of raw material created a crisis in the Jute sector when Pakistan denied supply of raw Jute to India.
  • The problem was further aggravated when Pakistan imposed an extra duty on the jute exports to India and also when she refused to devalue her currency in tune with the rupee devaluation in 1949.
  • The area extension under Jute was one of the key efforts of the Government in this sector.
  • West Bengal is India’s single largest raw jute cultivator.
  • It producing almost 75 % of the crop in Nadia, Dinajpur, Murshidabad and North 24 Parganas districts.

Challenges faced

  • More than 100-year-old Jute sector, supporting five million families at the farm and the industry-level, may not be in a position to benefit from this opportunity, right away.
  • The availability of quality raw jute and shrinking acreage on the one-hand and the failure of most jute mills to modernise have left the sector dependent on government-support like packaging reservations.
  • The sector is still primitive, involves labour-intensive cultivation methods and retting (drenching raw jute in water to extract the fibre) — a crucial determinant in raw jute quality — creates problems.
  • With raw jute prices remaining below the support price in 2017-18, area-under-cultivation may stagnate in 2018-19. • The technology adoption to this sector is limited by various factors.
  • The product diversification is also done in a poor pace.
  • Less research and development is conducted on the Jute related products.
  • Shortages of the skilled workers to process the jute have become an impediment to this sector.

Efforts to support the sector

  • A recent initiative called ‘The Jute Foundation’ (TJF) is trying to address many issues pertaining to the environment-friendly product and engaging all stakeholders –farmers, workers, mills, research organisations and consumers.
  • The J-CARE programme unveiled by the National Jute Board and the Jute Corporation of India is planning to introduce a pilot project on retting technologies aimed at increasing farmers’ returns.
  • Whenever the market price of raw jute falls below a certain level, the Jute Corporation of India (JCI) procures raw jute at Minimum Support Price (MSP).
  • Incentive Scheme for Acquisition of Plants and Machinery (ISAPM): Government of India launched ISAPM for Jute Industry and Jute Diversified Products Manufacturing Units.
  • The National Jute Board implements various schemes for market development, workers’ welfare and promotion of diversification and exports.
  • Government has issued a notification on imposing Definitive Anti-dumping Duty on jute goods originating from Bangladesh and Nepal.
  • Golden Fibre Revolution aims to increase production of jute and related materials.
  • The parliament of India had enacted the Jute Packaging Mandatory Act, 1987 with an objective to protect the Jute industry.
  • Government has made it mandatory for the entire chain from importers and traders to the level before the end-users, to register with the Office of Jute Commissioner, and furnish monthly reports on the imported goods.
  • Government through its Office of Jute Commissioner, Kolkata has also directed all manufacturers, importers processors and traders to mark/ print/ brand the words “Made in- Country of Origin” on imported bags.
  • National Industrial Development Corporation, initiate some programmes of modernisation such as the introduction of the electrically driven looms. But the process was far from complete—only the Spinning section had been modernized.
  • Jute Technology Mission (JTM)
    • Jute Technology Mission (JTM) was approved by the government of India in 2006 and it has 4 mini Missions. The Objectives of the JTM are as follows:
    • To strengthen agricultural research and technology achievements.
    • Development/extension of raw jute ministry of and transfer of improved technology.
    • To develop efficient market linkages ministry of for raw jute.
    • To modernize, technologically upgrade, improve productivity, textiles diversify and develop human resource for the jute industry.

Conclusion

  • Continuous improvement in the quality of the product and diversification of production were the two major means by which the industry could hope to sustain its competitiveness
  • The Finlow committee had pinpointed “the distinct lack of variety” as the most striking feature of the growth of the jute industry.
  • The jute Enquiry commission also complained that the industry produced only certain types of goods required traditionally in certain markets and stressed the need for more positive efforts to diversify the pattern of production.
  • Unlike France, Belgium and Holland which, by installing new machines, were able to produce larger variety of goods, India did not make much progress in this field.
  • India could not indefinitely depend upon the mercies of Pakistan but had to increase her own domestic production.
  • Create awareness among consumers on sustainable products made of jute.