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  Food ministry for 30% dilution in jute bag use rule
Bhubaneswar,May 29, 2013: In a setback to the jute sector, the Union food ministry has recommended dilution of the Jute Packaging Materials Act of 1987 (JPMA), pressing instead for a 30 per cent use of plastic bags for packing foodgrain in the 2013-14 agriculture season. It has based this on a recent price policy report on raw jute for 2013-14 by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
. The CACP said reservation in the JPMA should be reduced to 70 per cent of the total need. JPMA provides for mandatory use of jute bags for packaging of foodgrain and sugar up to 100 per cent by government procurement agencies. The food ministry is the biggest purchaser of the annually produced 2,000 million jute bags. About 35-40 per cent of jute bags produced by the industry are purchased by the food ministry on behalf of different state food procuring agencies and the Food Corporation of India.
  "The dilution proposal is very unfortunate. If implemented, it will shrink further. The industry will lose around Rs 2,000 crore if this happens. Though the textile ministry is supposed to take care of the industry, it is neglecting our concerns. There are alternative jute bags available for packaging of foodgrains but these are not being used," said Sanjay Kajaria, joint managing director, Hastings Jute Mill and former chairman, Indian Jute Mills Association. The total market for jute bags, including exports, are estimated at around Rs 10,000 crore.
  In 2012-13, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs allowed 10 per cent use of plastic bags for packing foodgrain and 60 per cent for sugar. According to the food ministry, the industry has a peak capacity to supply 2.5-3 million bales (a bale is 180 kg) of jute bags, while the yearly requirement is 3.5-4 million bales.
  In a recent letter, Union food secretary Sudhir Kumar complained to his counterpart in the textiles department, Zohra Chatterjee, that for the past two to three years, the state grain procuring agencies were facing many problems regarding timely supply of packaging material. To relax pressure on the grain producing farmers, the JPMA should be eased by 30 per cent, Kumar suggested.
  In 2011, Madhya Pradesh witnessed law and order problems because of irregular supply of jute bags. In its proposed arguments before the coming meeting of the Standing Advisory Committee on jute, the industry has claimed the demand for jute bags is lower than production. And, that there are no proven records of supply default to food procuring agencies and FCI.
  The Jute Advisory Board at its meeting on May 10 had projected an estimated total production of 12 million bales for 2013-14 . This includes 11.2 million bales of jute and 0. 8 million bale of mesta. In 2012-13, the production was 11.4 million bales, including 10.8 million bales of jute and 0.6 million bales of mesta. Source: Business Standard

  Ludlow Jute & Specialities net profit rises 114.61% in the March 2013 quarter
Kolkata, May 16, 2013: Net profit of Ludlow Jute & Specialities rose 114.61% to Rs 1.91 crore in the quarter ended March 2013 as against Rs 0.89 crore during the previous quarter ended March 2012. Sales declined 3.36% to Rs 66.64 crore in the quarter ended March 2013 as against Rs 68.96 crore during the previous quarter ended March 2012.
   For the Audited full year,net profit rose 72.24% to Rs 8.44 crore in the year ended March 2013 as against Rs 4.90 crore during the previous year ended March 2012. Sales rose 1.11% to Rs 280.41 crore in the year ended March 2013 as against Rs 277.34 crore during the previous year ended March 2012. Source: Business Standard

   Government hikes support price for jute
New Delhi, April 4, 2013:The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a Rs 100/quintal hike in minimum support price for raw jute on Tuesday. However, it deferred key decisions relating to sugar decontrol and reduction of subsidies for non-urea fertilisers.
   The decisions were deferred by the Cabinet panel since Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is away in Tokyo to attract foreign investments. The support price for jute for the 2013-14 season for TD-5 grade or the main grade is approved at Rs 2,300 a quintal across the country. This represents an increase of Rs 100 a quintal over the MSP announced by the Government for the last season, an official statement said.
  The increase in the support price for raw jute is expected to encourage farmers to step up jute cultivation and thereby production and productivity of the fibre in the country. The Jute Corporation of India (JCI) will continue to act as the nodal agency to undertake price support operations for jute. 
Source: thehindubusinessline.com

   Jute industry gets some cheer from budget, wants more tax exemption

   Kolkata, March 6, 2013 (IANS): *The Indian jute industry, which has been facing several challenges such as rampant lockouts, dwindling financial conditions of mills and low productivity, gained some fillip from this year’s union budget with the proposed total exemption of a few products from excise duty. Industry sources, however, said if Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had decided to also exempt products made of jute non-wovens, it would have brought more smiles to the faces of country’s jute manufacturers and exporters.
   P Chidambaram, who presented his eighth budget for his ministry Thursday, proposed to totally exempt handmade carpets and textile floor coverings of coir or jute from excise duty. “These are diversified products, which have good markets overseas. So we are happy with the excise duty exemption on carpets and floor coverings,” D.C. Baheti, executive director of Gloster Limited, a leading manufacturer and exporter of jute products, told IANS. Baheti said the duty exemption would give a boost to the exports of those diversified items.“We had also demand the central government to exempt diversified products made of non-woven jute.
  Items like non-woven jute made carpets, floor coverings and bags are of high demands in the international markets. So a duty exemption on these products would have been great,” he contended. Currently, excise duty levied on products made of jute non-woven is as high as 12 percent.
  Jute manufacturers said the central government should consider exempt items of non-woven jute from excise duty in the next year’s budget to give a boost to exports, providing a much necessary push to the sector, which has been in the doldrums. Sanjay Kajaria, former chairman of the Indian Jute Mills Association
(IJMA), observed that this year’s budget would have a minimum impact on the jute industry as items like handmade carpets and textile floor coverings of jute constituted a very small portion of the sector’s entire gamut of products. “This budget will have a minimum impact on jute industry. Other jute products had earlier been exempted from taxes. Carpets and floor coverings constitute only 0.5 percent of our total products,” he said. India’s ailing jute sector has for a long time been facing hardships such as lockout at mills, indefinite strikes and stiff competitions from synthetic substitutes. Hard competition from neighbouring Bangladesh
also adds to the sector’s worry.

Jute, coir to reinforce roads in State soon
  Davangere, February 1, 2013: Roads wearing out fast will be a thing of the past as jute and coir will be used as raw materials, along with sand, gravel and cement in the construction of roads in the State. This method of road construction, which is in vogue in Kolkata, will be adopted for 32 roads in the districts of Kolar, Tumkur, Haveri, Belgaum, Bidar, Shimoga and Mysore this year at a cost of Rs 40 crore.
  The road will have a one-inch thick base layer of sand. Above this is laid a jute sheet. This is then topped by another layer of sand of one inch thickness. It is then strengthened by two layers of metalling of 3.5 inch thickness. Ramesh, executive engineer of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, told Deccan Herald that the California bearing ratio (CBR), a measure of the soil strength, is increased by adopting the new technology. While the CBR of?black soil is two, that of red soil is eight. One layer of jute sheet increases the CBR of the soil by a three points.
  Normal roads wear out fast soon after rains. But roads constructed using this technology helps them last longer. Ramesh said officials of the Central jute and coir boards will inspect the quality of roads constructed.
He said the contractors have to maintain the roads for five years. Maintenance for a further period of 15 years will help them last that much longer. Three roads are being constructed using this method in Harapanahalli taluk of the district. The jute and coir boards have been requisitioned to supply 29,950 square metres of jute sheets for the purpose. 
  The work will be taken up at Honnapura, V?Koracharahatti and Nandibevur thandas at a cost of Rs four crore as soon as the jute consignment arrives from Kolkata and the work will be accomplished in a year, Ramesh said. Source: deccanherald.com


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