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 Jute mills seek better policy

Kolkata, May 16: The Indian Jute Mills Association has written to Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee seeking a comprehensive policy to help generate demand for jute bags and facilitate the reopening of closed mills.

Demand for bags from the various state government agencies for this year's rabi crop has significantly come down and is unlikely to improve in the coming months, Indian Jute Mills Association chairman Raghavendra Gupta said.

"Had Bengal announced a state jute policy under which the packaging of potatoes and rice could have been included, all jute mills in Bengal would have probably continued production well beyond April 2015," Gupta said in the letter.

In the last two months, 15 mills have closed down. There are 59 mills in the state, which offer livelihood to about 3 lakh workers. Gupta said about 1200 rice millers in Bengal were flouting the provisions of mandatory jute packaging. source: 

Jute association to file anti-dumping case against Bangladesh

 New Delhi, March 18: After cheaper jute products from Bangladesh flooding the domestic< market, the Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA) is set to file an anti-dumping case in the first quarter of the 2015-16 against subsidised exports.

“The association has been working on an anti-dumping case which should be filed with the Ministry concerned within the next quarter. A countervailing duty has to be either an anti-subsidy or anti- dumping duty, both will be pursued simultaneously,” said Raghavendra Gupta, Chairman, IJMA. 

The Bangladesh government offers a 10 per cent cash subsidy on jute goods, such as bags and Hessian cloth, and a 7.5 per cent subsidy on jute yarn. The government also provides 40 per cent and 20 per cent of funding required by mills and exporters, respectively. 

With import duty being nil under the SAARC treaty, as per industry estimates, nearly two lakh tonnes of jute finished goods flow into India from Bangladesh every year on the back of the “duty anomaly”.

The case will be filed with the Designated Authority heading the Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD), a body under the Commerce Ministry, which will investigate and recommend
anti-dumping measures, if any, to the Centre.

India accounts for 70 per cent of the world’s estimated production of jute goods, with the majority being used for packaging domestically. Although a net exporter, India’s exporters have been hit with no exports to Syria and Thailand, a combined market of 70,000 tonnes, over the last two-three years due to political turmoil.

On average, Bangladeshi jute products are estimated to be 10 per cent cheaper and imports surged by 35 per cent between April and December 2014. “Indian mills are working at almost 25 per cent below their production capacity due to stifled demand,” added Gupta.

According to data from the Textiles Ministry, exports of jute goods (Hessian, sacking, carpet backing cloth etc.) between April and December 2014 are estimated at 88,600 tonnes. For the 2013-14 fiscal (April-March), India exported 216,000 tonnes of jute products.

“The volume of Indian exports is $300 million annually, which accounts for 15 per cent of production. The subsidised export policy followed by Bangladesh, our main competitor, makes it difficult for Indian
manufacturers to compete since it’s difficult to match their price,” he said.

Gupta also expressed hope that domestic orders, particularly by the industry’s biggest buyer - the Food Ministry - which recorded a 35 per cent decline last year, would pick up in 2015-16 with sustained demand. 

90% mandatory jute packaging for grain, 20% for sugar

New Delhi, February 2, 2015: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the mandatory packaging of 90 per cent of foodgrains produced in India as well as 20 per cent of sugar in jute bags for the 2014-15 crop season, which started in July 2014.

“This preserves the position as in the past and helps the jute sector. There have been many concerns that the reservation for jute packaging would get reduced,” an official statement released after the meeting said. Almost all the foodgrains procured by state-run Food Corporation of India is packaged in jute bags.

West Bengal produces 80 per cent of India’s total annual jute production of 11-12 million bales (one bale is 180 kg) and is home to almost all the country’s jute mills. The state, which is slated for elections in mid-2016, is critical for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s foray into eastern India.

The Cabinet, however, said if the jute mills were not able to provide bags according to the requirement despite making a full advance indent, then a relaxation of 10 per cent can be granted by the Department of Food in consultation with the textiles ministry. This relaxation can be further extended up to 30 per cent in the event of any disruption in supply from jute mills.

Sugar meant for export and bulk packaging in excess of 100 kg have also been exempted from this order. The CCEA okayed a financial support of Rs 55 crore for the Jute Corporation of India (JCI) in order to offset the losses it suffered on account of undertaking minimum support price (MSP) operations.

JCI is the price-support agency of the Centre for jute to protect the interest of growers. It procures raw jute under the MSP fixed from time to time; it also stabilises the raw jute market for the benefit of jute farmers and the jute economy as a whole. Source: Business Standard

  Jute to make Kolkata book fair green

Kolkata, January 21, 2015: The 39th International Kolkata Book Fair, that begins January 28, is set to go green, courtesy kiosks stacking up on innovative jute products to spread the message.

Organisers of the book fair, the Publishers and Booksellers Guild, have joined hands with National Jute Board to set up as many as eight kiosks selling low-cost jute bags spread across the book fair venue, the Milan Mela grounds here, till Feb 8. 

In addition, designer jute bags and diversified jute products will also be available.

"Several book sellers and publishers will also give away books in specially-made jute bags during the fair. Delegates and guests will be given jute bags," said Dipankar Mahto, deputy jute commissioner and secretary, National Jute Board, while unveiling the new campaign 'Go Green' for the promotion of use of jute among masses.

Mahto said jute is 100 percent environment-friendly and 100 percent biodegradable.

"Consumer habits of using plastic bags indiscriminately need to be replaced by biodegradable and eco-friendly jute bags and jute products to create a greener and cleaner world," he said. - Source  IANS  

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