Indian Jute Industry
The movement of industrialisation was initiated way back in 19th century by coal mining, engineering and the two textiles industries including cotton and jute. For some decades before seventies, the jute industry's contribution in the total foreign exchange revenue of our country remained the single highest, fluctuating between 25 and 33 per cent. According to history, the share of the jute industry to the national economy has been truly exceptional.

The destiny of the ancient jute industry has been variable and there have been various ups and downs. However, the separation of the country in 1947 resulted in a major political disturbance, unparalleled in any huge industry anywhere, when all of a sudden it was found that while the entire industry settled in India, most of the jute cultivating areas went to the then East Pakistan, which regrettably became an unfriendly neighbour at that moment. It is pointless to point out that jute industry is fully depended on the natural jute fibre, which is an annually renewable agro supply that cannot be replaced economically by any other fibre. Under such crucial turnaround of state of affairs for the Indian jute industry, the British who had power over a very large segment of this industry, though not entirely, unsurprisingly panicked and decided to hand over their possession to the newly rising class of Indian industries. For many of them, I t was their first giant step into a big industry. The credit goes to the Indian industrialists, the Union government and the state governments in eastern India who jointly accepted this challenge and inspired the farming fraternity to get on with jute farming in a big way.

The weather conditions in eastern India were favourable and we soon became effectively self-reliant in our fibre needs. Our neighbouring country was determined not to sell their raw jute to the jute industry in India and hence preferred to set up new jute mills with the support of the machine manufacturers in the United Kingdom. While the determination displayed by the jute industry and the farming fraternity was truly extraordinary and commendable, the sudden surfacing of several new jute mills in the then east Pakistan generated large extra capacities, but growth of new products like jute carpet backing combined with continuous increase in the food grains production in the country facilitated to solve the problem of imbalance in demand and supply. India reappeared as the largest raw jute manufacturer and maintained this status.

Growth in last 50 years

Undeterred by all adversities and countless problems, the raw jute manufacturing in India has continued to go up and so has its demand due to excessive production in the jute industry. There is a strong basic structure for the jute industry available in India. Soon after independence and resulting separation of the country, the upper class of the Indian jute industry in a truly visionary manner founded two top-notch institutions, namely the Institute of Jute Technology and IJMARI.

The Institute of Jute Technology was started by IJMA to develop human capitals in the form of jute technologists with focused expertise to utilize the potential of the jute fibre taking into account of its own features and strengths for manufacturing jute products. It was believed that Serampur College of Textile Technology did not give special attention to jute spinning and weaving and the Dundee Institute in Scotland was too far to impart expert learning and talent. The Institute of Jute Technology at Ballygunge Circular Road in Kolkata has been the most distinguished institution in this area in the world today.

IJMARI i.e. The Indian Jute Mills Research Institute was also established by IJMA with a view to founding a world class R&D institute for product improvement, quality promise, technology absorption as well as for its continued advancement. This impressive institute situated at Taratolla Road, Kolkata was built originally as an extension of the industry itself or devoted R&D work. It is now recognised as Indian Jute Industries Research Association. Mr Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, inaugurated the outstanding IJIRA centre at Taratolla Road.

Considering the enormous economic importance of the jute sector in the national economy, the Government of India has also founded Institutions such as NIRJAFT for focused R&D work in enhancing newer jute