The distribution pattern of the ‘Golden Fiber’ industry in India during the last half century.

Question – Assess the change in the distribution pattern of the ‘Golden Fiber’ industry in India during the last half century. Also list the measures taken by the government to revive it by giving reasons for its decline. – 28 December 2021

Answer –  Jute is popularly known as the ‘Golden Fiber’. This is not only because of its silky golden luster, but also because of the industry’s reputation as a profitable economic enterprise, being a cash crop. Jute ‘Golden Fiber’ is the cheapest and most important of all types of textile fibers after cotton, as it is used in a variety of ways (from geo-textiles to apparel, carpets, decorative items, home furnishings and furnishings etc.) Softness, strength, elongation, luster and uniformity are found.

Distribution Pattern of Jute Industry

After Partition in 1947, the jute producing regions moved to Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan), while most of the jute mills remained in India. From the time of the Second World War, the use of synthetic fibers started increasing in place of jute. During the last half century, the Indian jute industry has faced many ups and downs. India is no longer the largest exporter of raw jute, India is now replaced by Bangladesh, while it remains the world’s largest producer of jute and consumer of jute products.

Shifting of Jute Industry

The following changes have taken place in the distribution of the jute industry in the recent past:

  • West Bengal has lost its industrial importance and many industries are either in serious trouble or have closed down. Due to overcrowding in the traditional industrial area of ​​Hooghly, industries are shifting to the northern plains along the Ganges River. In addition, Kolkata is no longer an important international port.
  • There has been a remarkable migration of this industry towards the Godavari river delta. This is due to the development of the paper industry in the region, which uses a mixture of jute and Sabai grass as raw materials.
  • Apart from traditional uses such as packing bags for sugar, wheat and rice, demand for jute from urban areas has pushed the industry closer to the market. ,
  • Places like Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have favorable conditions for the natural needs of the jute industry. Cheap labor is also available here.

Reasons for the decline of the jute industry

Apart from migration, the Indian jute industry has also declined. There are following reasons for this:

Supply Side Constraints:

Shortage of domestic raw materials, as the major producing areas are now located in Bangladesh.

  • Inability of mill owners to upgrade their products according to market demand.
  • Due to the strong trade union movement in the traditional jute growing sector, investors have shifted their capital to other sectors and even to other enterprises. ,
  • Fluctuations in jute prices due to erratic production of crops.
  • Those input costs for production due to the lack of upgrading of machines.

Demand Side Constraints:

  • Stiff competition from synthetic packing materials from developed countries in Europe and North America.
  • The emergence of new alternatives and the use of containers on a large scale and the development of plastics.

Measures taken by the Government:

  • The Jute Packaging Materials (Compulsory Use in Packing Commodities) Act, 1987 with a view to protect the jute industry.
  • National Jute Policy for State-of-the-art Manufacturing (2005).
  • Chute Technology Mission (JTM) was launched for research and development in all dimensions of this industry.
  • The National Jute Board has been given statutory status under the National Moot Board Act, 2008 to take steps for the all round development of the jute industry.
  • The Jute Corporation of India provides assistance to the jute farmers through the MSP process when the price of raw jute is less than the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

Jute industry is highly labor intensive and environment friendly hence it needs to be revived in an eco conscious world. India should seize this opportunity by rethinking the existing raw jute procurement and export policies, innovating and modernizing production machines, diversifying related products, improving quality and developing new products.

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