India’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved reservation norms mandating the use of jute sacking bags for packaging 100% foodgrains and 20% sugar.

Reservation for the packaging, approved on 8 December 2023, will be effective for the Jute Year 2023-24, which is between 1 July 2023 and 30 June 2024.

The legislation, which makes it compulsory to pack 100% of foodgrains and 20% of sugar in jute bags, comes under the Jute Packaging Material (JPM) Act, 1987.

The use of jute material for packaging, the CCEA said, will protect the environment and fulfil a range of sustainability parameters, as jute is a biodegradable, natural, renewable, and reusable fibre.

The approvals are in line with the Indian government’s ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ efforts to make the country self-reliant, as it will promote the domestic production of raw jute and jute packaging material in India.

According to the CCEA, in the 2022-23 period, the reservation for jute packaging material alone utilised approximately 65% of the country’s raw jute production.

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The extension of these reservation norms is further expected to help 0.4 million workers deployed across various jute mills and ancillary units in the country.

It will also allow the Indian government to support the livelihood of nearly four million farming families.

The CCEA highlighted that the JPM Act mainly focuses on safeguarding the interest of jute farmers, workers, and others associated with jute goods production.

In India, the jute industry plays a key role in the national economy, especially in the eastern region of the country.