NEW DELHI: The government is committed to the welfare of farmers and has increased the minimum support price for jute from Rs 2,400 in 2014-15 to Rs 4,225 in 2020-21, Union Minister Smriti Irani has said.

An official statement said that the minister for textiles and women & child development called upon farmers to use certified seeds to increase their income and productivity. She also urged the farmers to contribute to the country through diversified jute and technical textile products.

Virtually inaugurating a workshop organised at ICAR-CRIJAF Institute at Barrackpore, West Bengal on Monday, Irani said the ICARE Initiative which started in 2015 with only about 60 MT certified jute seeds and 20,000 farmers got a remarkable leap in just one and half years and the certified jute seeds distribution increased to over 600 MT in 2017.

She informed that so far, the government has supported 2.60 lakh farmers under the ICARE programme.  The minister further stated that the Narendra Modi government is committed for the welfare of farmers. She said the government increased the MSP for jute from Rs 2,400 in 2014-15 to Rs 4,225 in 2020-21, the textiles ministry statement added.

Irani said the ICARE Initiative is benefitting jute farmers by improving productivity by 15 per cent and increasing farmers’ income by about Rs 10,000/hectare. She added that through the Jute Packaging Material (JPM) Act, the government is protecting the interest of about 4 lakh workers and 40 lakh farm families.

She also said the government has approved a Technical Textiles Mission which includes Jute Geo-Textiles (JGT). The Bureau of Indian Standards has approved standards for Jute Geo-Textiles which will help promotion of JGT under the Technical Textile Mission, the minister said.

Speaking on the occasion, Textiles Secretary U P Singh said this initiative has been taken keeping in view the growing demand for jute in the country and to improve its quality. He observed that the initiative will increase the production of jute and reduce dependence on imports from Bangladesh.

He also said these efforts will go a long way in improving the conditions of the farmers and doubling their income. In his address, Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agrawal said that finer variety of fibre will be ensured by quality jute seeds.

He also said inclusion of jute in the National Food Security Mission will help to increase the income of the farmers.

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