Jute fibre of the future, need for expanding sector: Piyush Goyal

Kolkata: Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Saturday termed jute as the fibre of the future, and underscored the importance of expanding the sector and giving it the place it “deserves”.

Goyal was speaking at the inauguration of ‘Patsan Bhawan’ at New Town, which will serve as the new base for offices of the Jute Commissioner, the headquarters of the Jute Corporation of India and the National Jute Board, an official release said.

“Jute is fibre of the future… we need to expand the jute sector and give it the place it deserves. India produces more than 50 per cent jute in the world, out of which over 50 per cent is produced in West Bengal,” he said.

The minister was also present at a meeting of jute mill owners and stakeholders, industry sources said.

During the meeting, Goyal urged officials concerned to resolve long-pending pricing issues, including court cases related to jute pricing, they said.

Goyal also formed an “informal jute advisory group” to comprehensively address issues concerning the sector, as well as identify areas for improvement, the sources said.

Calling for uniform quality testing at the farm level to ensure remunerative prices for farmers, the minister expressed the desire to develop automatic testing mechanisms devoid of human interference, they said.

At the meeting, Goyal also called on the jute sector to explore the feasibility of utilising government funds for ‘technical textiles’ (engineered products with a definite functionality).

The minister, the sources said, proposed opening the Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA) membership for a five-year period to small mills below 40-tonne capacity, without charging fees.

This move is expected to empower the smaller units, allowing them to participate in the decision-making process, the sources added.

Goyal also urged industry players to increase jute exports.