The Indian Government has made it mandatory to package all food grains and 20% of sugar in jute bags.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the packaging reservation norms for Jute Year 2021-22, which runs from this July to the end of next June.

These norms are specified as part of the Jute Packaging Material (JPM) Act 1987.

This decision is expected to create direct jobs for 370,000 people in jute mills and ancillary units, as well as four million farmers in the jute sector.

It will also support workers in India’s Eastern Region, particularly in states such as West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

The jute trade is one of the region’s major industries, particularly in West Bengal.

The material meets all sustainability standards as it is biodegradable, renewable and reusable.

In a statement, the CCEA said: “The reservation norms in present proposal would further protect the interest of domestic production of raw jute and jute packaging material in lndia, thereby, making India self-reliant in consonance with Aatmnirbhar Bharat.

“Reservation for packaging in jute packaging material consumed around 66.57% of the raw jute produced in the country in 2020-21.”

Every year, the Indian Government buys jute sacking bags worth around Rs80bn ($1bn) for food grain packaging, ensuring that jute farmers and workers have a market for their produce.

Jute sacking bags account for 75% of the jute industry’s total production. Of this, 90% is supplied to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and State Procurement Agencies (SPAs), with the rest being exported or sold directly.

The norms in the 1987 Act are intended to make India more self-reliant by increasing domestic production of raw jute and jute packaging material.

Last October, the CCEA mandated that all food grains and 20% of sugar must be packaged in diversified jute bags.