Inaugurating the “National Seminar on Jute Diversification” in Kolkata on Friday, Gangwar said that unlike plastic, polythene and other synthetic materials used in carry-bags and for packaging, jute is biodegradable, environment friendly, natural, non-polluting and non-toxic. He underlined that that jute farming and jute-based industry is a major agro-economic activity in eastern and north eastern India which provides livelihood to more than 40 lakh jute families, 3.70 lakh industrial workers and 2 lakh people working in the decentralized Jute sector.
The Minister said that 95 per cent of jute is utilized for preparing gunny bags for packaging of food grains, as mandated by Jute Packaging material (JPM) Act. He added however, that Government is now giving emphasis on promoting diversification in use of jute, for preparing shopping bags, carriers, office folders, wall hangings, holders, stationery, gifts, handicrafts accessories, jute sculptures, etc.
Gangwar said that given the labour intensive nature of the preparation of these materials, the Ministry of Textiles is vigorously trying to rope in Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs) which would go a long way in making them self-employed, economically self-dependent and empowered.
The Minister further added that, his ministry has already initiated the process of collaboration with other ministries, banks and State governments to link the jute diversification efforts with 'Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana'. He said that skill development centres and Jute Diversification project units have been set up and these will be linked with the 'Skill India' initiative of the Government.
He also mentioned that Rs 427 crore has been earmarked for Jute Geo Textile initiative. This would immensely help in preventing soil erosion as well as mulching on barren lands, and in preservation of roads, embankments and railway tracks.
Gangwar said five Common Facility Centres (CFCs) have been set up and are functional in West Bengal, Assam and Bihar, where members of WSHGs are being given training and are engaged in production of diversified jute products. Ten more CFCs would be set up very soon. (SH)
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