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Govt approves mandatory jute packing for foodgrains, sugar

The government on Wednesday approved mandatory use of jute packaging material for foodgrains and sugar, a move which will provide relief to 3.7 lakh jute mill workers.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in its meeting on Wednesday decided that at least 90 percent of foodgrain output and 20 percent of sugar production has been reserved for packaging in jute.

The mandatory use of jute in packaging is for the Jute Year 2015-16 (July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016).

“The decision will provide relief to 3.7 lakh workers employed in jute mills and ancillary units as well as support the livelihood of around 40 lakh farm families,” an official release said.

Under the Jute Packaging Materials (Compulsory use in Packing Commodities) Act, 1987 (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.

As per the CCEA decision, at least 90 percent of foodgrains produced and 20 percent of the sugar production has been reserved for packaging in jute.

However, the 90 percent mandatory packaging requirement for foodgrains stipulates that “in the first instance, the indents for the whole requirement would be placed for jute bags and in case jute mills are not able to provide  jute bags as per requisition, then a dilution upto 10 percent would be permissible by the Department of Food & Public Distribution”.

“Sugar packed for export but which could not be exported, sugar fortified with vitamins, packing for export of commodities, consumer packs of 10 kg and below for foodgrains and 25 kg and below for sugar and bulk packing of more than 100 kg may be exempted from the reservation order under JPM Act,” the release said.

“Further, Ministry of Textiles may relax the provisions for reservation upto a maximum of 30 percent of the foodgrains, over and above the norms prescribed,” it added.

Moreover, consumer packs of quantity of above 10 kg and upto 25 kg for packing of foodgrains should be done in jute bags for distribution of foodgrains under Foodgrains Security Act subject to such bags being cost competitive as compared to HDPE/PP bags factoring in the  subsidy/reimbursement provided by Government of India for packing of foodgrains.

With a view to reducing the cost of jute bags all future orders of the government shall be for lighter weight bags of 580 and 600 gm subject to conformity with relevant BIS standards.

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