National Jute Policy aims to boost exports Shipments to be increased to Rs 5,000 cr by 2010

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Plans to develop next generation machinery.

Our Bureau

New Delhi, April 15

THE National Jute Policy 2005, unveiled on Friday, aims at augmenting jute and jute products exports from Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 5,000 crore by 2010 through a multi-pronged strategy.

Announcing the policy, the Union Minister of Textiles, Mr Shankersinh Vaghela, said the policy aimed at augmenting the quantity of exports of jute and jute products by achieving a compounded annual growth rate of 15 per cent per annum.

The highlights of the multi-pronged strategy include creation of the National Jute Board, which would rectify the lack of co-ordination among multiple jute-related organisations and be a facilitator rather than a regulator for the sector and to operate the Jute Technology Mission, approved by the Planning Commission in the first half of this year. It is also proposed to incorporate the Jute Export Promotion Council in the proposed Jute Board.

Other objectives are to establish a National Institute of Natural Fibres for promotion activities, besides setting up a National Jute and Jute Textile Museum to preserve and highlight the heritage of jute. It also proposes to develop the next generation jute machinery through a comprehensive technology benchmarking (through technology audit), a five-year plan for machinery development for both organised and decentralised (also for the cottage industry), and a separate R&D set up in the area of public-private partnership.

Besides, a new commodity development strategy to focus on positioning jute as superior and eco-friendly material, enhance the productivity of raw jute, increase exports through innovative marketing and better the working conditions of the workers.

Responding to questions, the Minister said that his ministry had sought Rs 350-400 crore from the Planning Commission for modernisation of the jute sector. There are six jute mills in the country all of which were closed and the Government was trying to revive at least two by referring them to the Board for Financial Reconstruction (BIFR).

Mr Vaghela said the content of the golden fibre in the textile sector is a negligible 10 per cent, whereas in the clothing sector this should be raised to 40-50 per cent to provide brand equity.

To a specific query about the Jute Product (Compulsory Packaging) Act, 1987, he said a review meeting would be held in May.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 16, 2005)
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