Minister of State for Textiles (I/C), Santosh Kumar Gangwar, has taken several steps to strengthen the Jute sector. These steps are a result of the review meetings he held with various stakeholders of the Jute sector, at Kolkata recently.
The key decisions:
1) Utilise unused assets of closed mills, to generate employment
It has been decided to utilise the unused assets, such as land, of the three closed mills of NJMC (National Jute Manufactures Corporation) for economic activities. The focus is to generate employment. Activities such as apparel park or textile hub shall be considered. The Government of West Bengal has been requested to support this initiative, while PricewaterhouseCoopers has been engaged to prepare the roadmap.
2) NJMC to invite entrepreneurs to run Kinnison, Khardah and RBHM jute mills through licence route
3) Heighten focus on diversified products
NJB (National Jute Board) will intensify development and promotion of diversified jute products. Training of Women’s Self Help Groups, including that of groups of Tiger widows in the Sundarban, will be given particular emphasis. Reputed R&D institutes such as IIT Kharagpur, NITRA and IJIRA is being taken. NID (National Institute of Design) has been roped in, to assist in the development of new designs and for setting up of state-of-art design centre for shopping bags and other jute lifestyle products.
4) Feminine hygiene products and low-cost carry bags
These products hold a lot of promise. Efforts to commercialise them would be speeded up; all state governments would be requested to support the marketing of these products.
5) Provision of housing for jute mill workers
Collaborative schemes to provide standard housing to jute mill workers were discussed. Ministry of Textiles would support this initiative, while Government of West Bengal has also requested to participate.
6) Steps to boost demand for jute sacking
Ministry of Textiles is making all-out efforts to persuade state governments to order more jute sacking to boost demand. Government of West Bengal has requested to procure jute sacking for packaging of paddy/rice and of potatoes/ vegetables. State Government representatives assured that they would sort out the issue in consultation with the jute industry.