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   Jute fair in Mangalore City
Mangalore, August 01, 2013(DHNS): Jute fair is back in Mangalore for the fourth year, and this time with a lot more jute products in store. From the hand made eco-friendly jute pots and laptop bags to the trendy and fashionable footwears and accessories for women, the 25 stalls at Jute fair are displaying eye- catching lifestyle products, drawing the attention of jute lovers. 
   Entrepreneurs from six states including West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala are taking part in the Jute exhibition organised by the National Jute Board, which was inaugurated at Hotel Woodlands on Wednesday. Jute pot kept for sale in the stall owned by Padmapriya from Tamil Nadu is quite an innovative product. The pot which could be hung in indoor kitchen, comes handy for women folk to grow plants like ladies finger, mint, coriander and lucky plants. The hanging pot is made out of jute moulded with coir, and two coir piths are placed inside the pot. When water is poured into the pot, the coir piths will soften and will function as manure. Coirs need not be replaced for a period of six months.

   Carry-over stocks, low demand may put pressure on raw jute prices

   Kolkata, July 18, 2013: An estimated five-seven per cent rise in raw jute production; higher carry-over stocks and an anticipated drop in demand for sacking from sugar and food grain industry, is likely to exert pressure on raw jute prices this year. Raw jute prices (TD5 variety) have dropped by nearly 13 per cent in the last three months. Prices are hovering around Rs 2,700-2,800 a quintal currently, down from Rs 3,200 in April. According to Raghav Gupta, Chairman of Indian Jute Mills’ Association, sowing was down by 5-10 per cent this year in most parts of North and South Bengal and Assam. 
   South Bengal districts of Murshidabad and Nadia together account for almost 60 per cent of the country’s total jute production. “Despite a lower sowing, production is estimated to be 5-7 per cent higher this year on account of a better yield aided by good weather conditions and rains,” Gupta told "Business Line." Area under jute cultivation was also down by 11 per cent to eight lakh hectares this year. Raw jute cultivation typically happens on an area of about nine lakh hectare and Bengal accounts for almost 67 per cent of the total area under cultivation.
  The carry-over stock is close to 27 lakh bales this year. The high carry-over stocks was primarily due to sluggish demand and poor procurement by food grains industry during the rabi season (mid November to April), Gupta said. The likelihood of a further dilution in the mandatory Jute Packaging Materials Act (JPMA) of 1987 for packing food grain and sugar might further suppress the demand. 
   JPMA provides for mandatory use of jute bags for packaging of food grain and sugar up to 100 per cent by the Government procurement agencies. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had allowed for 60 per cent and 10 per cent dilution in the JPMA for packing sugar and food grain respectively in 2012-13. 
   The industry produces nearly 16-18 lakh tonnes of jute bags and clothes annually. Of this, about 35-40 per cent is purchased by the Food Ministry on behalf of different State food procuring agencies and the Food Corporation of India. According to industry insiders the Cabinet might approve further dilution in JPMA to the extent of 20-30 per cent for food grains and up to 80 per cent for sugar. “We are yet to get information on this (dilution) but a further dilution looks most likely this year,” Gupta said. 
Source: The Hindu Businessline

   DGSD revises payment terms for jute industry
Bhubaneswar,June 26, 2013: The DGSD has decided to withhold 10% payment made to jute mills for supplying gunny sacks to Food Corporation of India (FCI). "The decision is unilateral and against the interest of the jute industry. It will have an implication of Rs 650 crore on the industry”, said an industry source. FCI annually procures around 12-14 million tonne of jute bags valued at around Rs 6,500 crore. The current price of one tonne of jute bag is around Rs 56,000 or Rs 3,700/100 bags in June.
  The jute industry is crying hoarse on DGSD’s decision. According to industry, it is a rate contract system and is not applicable to them. Supply of jute bags are made on orders issued by DGSD and production control orders from the jute commissioner. The prices are fixed by the jute commissioner.
  The industry has approached the director general S N Mohanty holding the decision as 'unilateral’. As per the industry, it will foment labour unrest and disrupt production. The industry claims it has limited capital and cannot absorb the shock of extending credit to the government. 
   As per the Jute Packaging Materials Act (JPMA), in 2012-13, 90% of food grains produced in the country were packed in jute sacks. For 2013-14, the standing advisory committee on jute recently decided to maintain the same level. Originally, they had planned to reduce it to 70%.
  Jute bag prices are fixed on a 12-year old formula worked out by the Tariff Commission. During this period, the government disallowed cost escalation on half the items necessary for production of one tonne of jute bag. They include stores, repairs, overhead, other packing, depreciation, interest, return and others. Source: Business Standard

   Raw jute prices might fall 10%
Bhubaneswar,May 21, 2013:The price of raw jute is poised to fall 10 per cent, owing to a better supply position, though crop output is likely to fall by five per cent for 2012-13 to 10.6 million bales, according to the advance estimates of the Union agriculture ministry.
   The price correction will be on the back of an inventory of three million bales (a bale is 170 kg). The availability of raw jute for 2013-14 has been projected at 13.5 mn bales. The ministry had targeted a production of 11.2 mn bales. Actual output might be less, due to delayed rains in Assam and parts of north Bengal and Bihar. "The average prices of raw jute are currently around Rs 3,000 a quintal. But prices are headed for a 10 per cent drop due to a better supply position," said Sanjay Kajaria, joint managing director, Hastings Jute Mill and former chairman, Indian Jute Mills Association.
   Says Manish Poddar, director, Budge Budge Jute Mill, "Even if crop output drops five per cent, it will not have any major impact on mill owners unless demand is stable. The raw jute prices are presently Rs 700 higher than the minimum support price for the crop (at Rs 2,300/qtl).Any significant price movement will depend on demand."  An area of 389,000 hectares (ha) was covered under jute cultivation, lower than last year's 426,000 ha. As mentioned earlier, an inventory build-up of 3.1 mn bales between 2009 and 2012 is expected to ease prices. According to the Jute Advisory Board (JAB), import of raw jute from Bangladesh went up from 300,000 bales in 2009-10 to 900,000 bales in 2012-13. Inventory build-up during this period registered almost the same rise, indicating low consumption by mills. Between 2009 and 2012, consumption varied between 7.7 mn bales and 9.2 mn bales, against total supply of 10.8 mn bales and 13.2 mn bales, respectively. JAB has recommended import of high quality raw jute from Bangladesh and revised its import estimate from 800,000 bales to 960,000 bales for the current year. This, it says, would facilitate Indian manufacturers in producing specialised carpet quality yarn and other value-added products. Source:Business Standard

   Bally Jute Company reports net loss of Rs 0.36 crore
Kolkata, May 10, 2013: Net Loss of Bally Jute Company reported to Rs 0.36 crore in the quarter ended March 2013 as against net loss of Rs 0.56 crore during the previous quarter ended March 2012. Sales declined 9.67% to Rs 38.59 crore in the quarter ended March 2013 as against Rs 42.72 crore during the previous quarter ended March 2012.
   For the Audited full year,net profit rose 19.28% to Rs 0.99 crore in the year ended March 2013 as against Rs 0.83 crore during the previous year ended March 2012. Sales declined 0.41% to Rs 159.56 crore in the year ended March 2013 as against Rs 160.22 crore during the previous year ended March 2012. Source: Business Standard

 Major fire at jute mill, no one injured
KANPUR, April 18, 2013: A major fire broke out in one of the portions of JK Jute Mill and reduced the semi-prepared jute stock and furniture to ashes here on Wednesday. The fire tenders got the factory premises vacated as soon as they reached the site and began the rescue operation. It took nearly half a dozen of fire tenders to control the flames. No one was reported to be injured in the mishap. Though they could not tell exact cause of but said that the fire broke out due to combustible material dumped in one portion of the jute mill. The firemen had to fight for more than an hour before the fire could be doused completely. 
  The firemen could not enter the premises initially as the flames and smoke made it impossible for them to see anything. Several senior district and police officials too had reached the spot to take stock of the situation. A senior fire official informed TOI, "We reached the site of mishap and witnessed that the tall flames had engulfed the jute mill premises. It took us quite sometime to control the fire.The official further said that the fire could not be controlled easily as there were not enough entrances to enter the mill. The official also informed that initially two fire tenders were rushed to the site but on seeing the intensity of the fire; over half a dozen fire extinguishing vehicles were dispatched to douse the fire. When asked about the probable reason of fire mishap, the official said that the investigations are going on to ascertain the exact cause. Source: The Times of India

   Bumper crop in the offing amid insufficient gunny bags
CHANDIGARH, April 2, 2013: As Punjab gears up for wheat procurement, it faces crisis of not only inadequate storage space but also of insufficient gunny bags. The state is expecting a bumper crop of whopping 140 lakh tonnes of wheat this year, which is 11 lakh tonnes higher than last year. The current problem which the authorities face is that over 25 crore gunny bags, each with a capacity of 50 kg will be required but till now, not even half of the required stock is available.
  The government maintains that that money had been paid in advance for gunny bags to the Jute Corporation Heights, but the requirement has not been met yet. It will lead to inordinate delay in clearing grain from market. Meanwhile, some experts said the procurement goes on as it is and the gunny bags keep on arriving during the season and later the entire stock of grains is stuffed into gunny bangs by the season end. Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon while admitting the non-availability of gunny bangs for the past few years, the issue is being redressed. Though the procurement will begin from April 1 at over 1,770 procurement centres, bulk wheat starts arriving in markets after Baisakhi, around April 14.
  The perennial problem of shortage of storage space is a huge problem is staring in the eyes of the authorities. The warehouses already store old stock of 1 lakh tonnes and only 60 lakh tonnes space has been left. The authorities are trying to accommodate the new stock in sugar mills, yards and even rice mills. Source: Punjab Newsline Network

  Production and Revival of Jute Mills: Ministry of Textiles

  New Delhi, March 13, 2013: Government of India is implementing various schemes to increase the production of jute in the country. Some of the important schemes are as under:-
 i)  Government of India has launched the Jute Technology Mission (JTM) as a major initiative for overall development of the jute industry and growth of the jute sector with a total outlay of Rs.355.55 crores. Under the JTM, several schemes are operational under the Mini Mission  I, II, III& IV for the overall growth of jute sector. Mini Mission-I aims towards strengthening agriculture research and development in jute sector for improving the yield and quality. Mini Mission-II is targeted towards transfer of improved technology and agronomic practices in production and post harvesting phase. Under Mini-Mission-III, market linkage of raw jute is provided in all jute growing states. Mini Mission-IV provides for modernization of jute industry, up gradation of skills, market promotion and exports which helps to increase demand of raw jute.
ii)  Minimum Support Price (MSP) for raw jute and mesta is fixed every year to encourage farmers to grow more jute. 
iii)  In order to encourage jute production, Government provides for compulsory packaging of certain percentage of foodgrains& Sugar in
jute under Jute Packaging Material (Compulsory use in packaging commodities), 1987. 
iv)  NationalJute Board and Jute Corporation of India are working on projects with National Institute of Research on Jute & Allied Fibre
Technology (NIRJAFT) and Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied Fibres (CRIJAF) to develop better jute seeds and to improve agronomical practices for jute cultivation.
v) Jute Corporation of India and National Jute Board work together to distribute high-yielding certified seeds to farmers at subsidized rates for increasing productivity. There are no state specific schemes.
  In order to protect the interest of the jute growers and to ensure that the raw jute producers receive Minimum Support Price (MSP), The Jute Corporation of India (JCI), a Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Textiles has been mandated to undertake support price operations for raw jute from farmers at MSP through its 171 Departmental Purchase Centres and State cooperative bodies. Due to the mechanism in place of procurement of raw jute by JCI, the prices are not allowed to fall below MSP so as to avoid hardship to the farmers. The requirement of jute packing material (jute bags) for packing food-grains has increased substantially in the past few years and the jute industry/farmers are not facing problems on this account. The Government of India has taken up revival of three jute mills of National Jute Manufactures Corporation Limited (NJMC) a Central Public Sector Enterprises namely, Khardah (West Bengal), Kinnison (West Bengal) and RBHM (Bihar).
  This information was given by the Minister of State Textiles, Smt.Panabaaka Lakshmi in a written reply in the Lok Sabha on March 12, 2013. Source: Ministry of Textiles

  Hari Shankar Singhania passes away
New Delhi,February 25, 2013: Leading industrialist Hari Shankar Singhania, 79, head of the JK Organisation, passed away late Friday night at his residence here. He was cremated at Nigambodh Ghat yesterday. A Padma Bhushan awardee (in 2003), he had been actively involved with the diversified JK Organisation since 1951. He chaired the International Chamber of Commerce from 1993 to 1994 and was president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in 1979-80.
   Born in Kanpur on June 20, 1933, Singhania joined the group after completing a bachelor’s degree in science. He set up various pioneering ventures, overseeing businesses in aluminium, steel, insurance, jute, textiles, paint and office equipment, to name some. Singhania also founded and headed medical and educational foundations.
  The diversified JK Organisation has about 40,000 employees, with a presence in about 80 countries across six continents. He received various awards and recognitions, including the ‘2008 Paper Industry International Hall of Fame Award’ and the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award for Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship’ in 2010. In 2005, he was given the Royal Order of the Polar Star by the king of Sweden for contribution to Indo-Swedish business relations. Source: business-standard

    Jute industries likely to face indefinite strike
Kolkata, February 18, 2013: The limping jute industry of West Bengal seems to be hurtling towards an indefinite strike. Twenty jute trade unions have submitted a 49 point charter demanding an effective 118 per cent hike in the worker’s minimum wages from Rs 206 per day to Rs 450 per day. According to industry estimates, it will entail an annual industry outgo of around Rs 1260 crore. The estimated cost of producing one ton of jute bag will go up by Rs 34.44p and production cost by Rs 9840/ ton.
  Industry insiders said, as per union demands they would have to pay Rs 17810 / month instead of the present Rs 11,414/ month. It include all nine statutory benefits and allowances in addition to basic and dearness allowance. However, the state labour department has not called any tripartite  meeting as yet. The trade unions are waiting to see how the jute mills respond to their demands. The jute miilers feel that the unions might resort to arms twisting tactics by serving the 14 days notice for strike once the tripartite meeting breaks down. Last time the industry experienced a a mjor strike was in December, 2010 which lasted for near about two months and the millers had to give the workers some additional Dearness Allowance (D.A.).
  Each year, the jute industry produce around 12.8 lakh tons of jute bags for packing sugar and food grains. Almost 40 hands are required to produce one ton of jute bag. There are about 2.5 lakh industrial workers in 54 operating jute mills of the state. "The demand is ridiculous and baseless. Almost fifty percent of jute mills are run under B.I.F.R revival packages. Most jute mills will close down if the trade unions' demands are accepted," says a mill owner who does not want to be identified. In 2010, a finance sub-committee report of the Union finance ministry, however, pointed out that between 2005 and 2009, assets of jute mill owners went up by 356 percent and 20 mills have showed net profits of over 67 percent. Until date, the jute industry has not accepted the position.
   Jute workers are one of the worst paid in the country. For half century, since 1963 there has been no revision in workers’ pay of grades and scales. 2002, the mill owners have further deprived the workers by not paying 2499 points increase in dearness allowance (DA). The previous three year tripartite agreement ends on Sunday and the unions have demanded on its termination. Some arrear DA adjustments were made in the agreement.
  February 2010 and December 2012 the mill owners have only paid the difference in amounts of DA increase thereby avoiding the total increase of 873 points during this period. In 2002, DA was 2427 points. Till December 2012 it was 4926 points. If the per point Consumer Price Index (CPI) neutralization at 1.9 is calculated then the workers are supposed to received a wage of Rs 7348.10 / month excluding allowances and statutory benefits ( Rs 2499 x 1.9 = Rs 4748 + Rs 2600 ( Rs 100 being basic in 2002 x 26 days). Which means Rs 282 / day (i.e. Rs 7348.10 / 26 days in a month) .
  Meanwhile, sensing trouble three mills on banks of Hooghly – Hastings, India and Gondolpara jute have increased wages and have started paying Rs 314 per day to it’s workmen. A section of the industry is annoyed at the move as it feels would erode it’s bargaining power during the tripartite negotiations. A spokesman for the Kajaria owned 3 mills said, Rs Rs the industry is starved of workers because of different social sector schemes like NREGS. There is no alternative but to hike daily wages to lure workmen’’. A study conductedby the jute industry last year showed that the migrant workers who had been the majority of the work force in the jute industry, are no longer coming in numbers. In the 1980s migrant workers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh used to constitute 70-75% of the total workforce. Now, the share of the migrant workers has gone done to less than 38% of the total workforce.
 Source: Business Standard

   Strikes, lockouts haunt Bengal jute industry
Kolkata, February 07, 2013: About 1,000 workers at Kajaria Yarn and Twines Ltd’s Sibpur mill in Howrah district on Monday woke up to an indefinite lockout notice at the factory. The reason for the lockout, according to the management, is poor productivity and financial condition. This is not an isolated development. Given the hardships faced by the jute mill industry in West Bengal, one of the few surviving manufacturing sectors in the state, industry experts say a strike threat is looming large, which could lead to more lockouts. Over the past one year, at least four jute mills were locked out temporarily. In December 2009, jute mill workers in 52 mills in the state had gone on an indefinite strike, culminating in a tripartite agreement between the government, mill owners and workers. The agreement will expire this month and workers have already submitted a new charter of demands to mill owners. “There is a possibility of strike in the coming days,” said Sanjay Kajaria, former chairman of the Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA). 
  According to experts, poor financial conditions amid dwindling demand and labour problems are threatening the jute industry of the state. Ironically, opening closed factories topped the agenda of the present government. Finance minister Amit Mitra had said there would be a plan to open about 58,000 closed factories that had about 44,000 acres locked within. “The reopened jute mills are open, but not functional,” said Amitabh Chakraborty of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (Citu). Kajaria of IJMA, too, admitted that the reopened mills were hardly functional. Less wages and problems in the industry are prompting workers to look for job opportunities elsewhere, mainly in the construction sector and under the Central government’s rural job scheme. This, together with a sharp decline in the number of migrant labourers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and parts of south India, has led to a substantial shortage of workers in the mills. This was visible when Kajaria, owner of several jute mills in the state, recently raised wages of temporary workers voluntarily to about Rs 220 per day from Rs 157. In addition, the stacking up of large dues in employee provident fund (PF) and gratuity by jute mill owners has earned a bad reputation for the sector. According to Chakraborty of Citu, about Rs 330 crore of gratuity and Rs 250 crore of PF dues are yet to be paid by mill owners to workers. Source: Business Standard

  Visakhapatnam hosts jute fair

  Visakhapatnam, Ferburary 1, 2013 (ANI): The National Jute Board (NJB) is hosting a week-long fair here to promote the sale of eco-friendly jute products and to provide a market for the small artisans. A variety of jute products, including colourful mats and carpets, clutches, handbags, shopping bags, slippers, men''s wallets, tablemats, file folders are on display at the fair. Jute, which is also known as the Golden Fibre is considered to be the second most important fibre after cotton due to its reasonable price and eco-friendly attributes. A customer, Vishal, said that such exhibitions should be held more often, as they provide an insight about eco-friendly products. "Such kinds of exhibition should be held in all states of India, especially in capital and metropolitan cities, so that people can know about it and can purchase these products and commodities, as they are more eco-friendly," said Vishal. 
  Participating craftsmen expressed their delight over the increase in sales of their products. A shopkeeper, Abhijit Ghosh, said: "Earlier, our financial condition was not good and the National Jute Board is supporting us. It was getting difficult for us to sustain our livelihood. With this particpation of the National Jute Board, our economic condition has improved," said Ghosh. In all, 23 stalls have been put up by jute artisans and manufacturers. Such fairs not only bring the craftsmen into limelight, but also provide an opportunity to the people to find out more about the arts and crafts of other regions of the country.

  Jute fair in Mangalore from January 16 to 20
   MANGALORE, January 15, 2013: National Jute Board (NJB), under the Union ministry of textiles is organizing a promotional exclusive jute fair, an exhibition-cum-sale of lifestyle jute decorative products from January 16 to 20 at Hotel Woodlands here.
   NJB is responsible for the promotion of jute, the eco-friendly natural fibre, and has been taking proactive steps by organizing exhibitions, buyer-seller meets, fashion shows, seminars/workshops, and so on, here and abroad. Gulzaar Banu, mayor, will inaugurate the event on Wednesday. Source: Times of India

  Govt projects 37% deficit in jute bag supply this rabi season

  Bhubaneswar January 09, 2013: The supply of jute bags to package food grains this rabi season would be 37 per cent lower than the requirement, according to government estimates. The shortfall is much higher than the exemption allowed by the Union Cabinet on October 11 last year. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had decided that 10 per cent of the total production of food
grains in the country be packaged in plastic material - high density polyethylene (HDPE) or polypropylene (PP) bags. 
  According to estimates, while the requirement for jute bags in the rabi season (between December 2012 and April 2013) is about 1.89 million bales, the jute industry wouldn't be able to supply more than 1.22 million bales, a shortfall of 0.67 million bales. 
  The Indian Jute Mills  Association (IJMA), however, doesn't anticipate any deficit. "The jute industry has submitted a detailed plan to the Union textiles ministry on the supply position of jute bags. While the ministry is free to allow 10 per cent dilution in favour of plastic
bags, the jute industry is fully equipped to meet the balance 90 per cent demand," said Manish Poddar, IJMA chairman.
  The projected deficit in the supply of jute bags is expected to be met through plastic (HDPE/PP) bags, which are cheap and easily available. The price of a synthetic bag is only Rs 12, compared with Rs 28 for a jute bag.
  Under the Jute Packaging Materials Act  (JPMA)-1987, sugar and food grains produced in the country would have to be packed in jute bags produced during the year. Earlier, the government had accused the jute industry of short capacity and supply. On November
16, 2011, the CCEA had decided to carry out a thorough review of the jute sector. The government is yet to conduct the review.Along with the 10 per cent relaxation in the packaging of food grains, the CCEA had also de-reserved 40 per cent sugar packing in plastic bags. Synthetic producers have moved the Competition Commission of India, accusing the jute industry of manipulation, cartelisation and rigging jute bag prices. Source: Business Standard

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