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Cash Crunch after demonetisation Move by PM Modi has Hit Raw Jute Farmers and Jute Mills

West Bengal accounts for about 85 percent of the country's jute production, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar and Assam

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FILE - A private money trader counts Indian rupee currency notes at a shop in Mumbai, India. (Representational image). VOA

– by Bappaditya Chatterjee

Kolkata, Nov 25, 2016: Cash crunch in the wake of demonetisation has hit raw jute farmers and jute mills alike, which may ultimately lead to closure of mills and cause hardship to workers and labourers, various stakeholders rue.

Jute farmers are at the receiving end since traders have been unable to purchase the raw produce from them due to shortage of cash after the November 8 demonetistaion of high-denomination currency.

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For mill owners, too, a crisis seems to be looming large on the horizons as raw jute stocks lying with them are depleting fast. The industry is finding it difficult to even arrange for fortnightly wage payments to around 3.5 lakh mill workers.

Jute millers are now seeking intervention by the Jute Corporation of India (JCI), similar to the one 11 years ago when the industry faced a crisis owing to a sharp drop in raw jute supply.

West Bengal accounts for about 85 per cent of the country’s jute production, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar and Assam.

The Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA) has already approached the government and the Jute Commissioner’s Office to seek restoration of normalcy in raw jute supply.

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“Usually, the growers accept cash for their produce sold to local traders. However, cash payments are not possible at present due to demonetisation and bank transfers will take some more time. As a result, the arrival of raw jute at various ‘mokams’ (local jute markets) has come down by 80-85 per cent,” IJMA Chairman Raghavendra Gupta told IANS.

About 10-15 per cent of the total 40 lakh jute farmers in India accept payments through banks. Click To Tweet

“The supplies of raw produce to jute mills has suffered. The trade over the past few days has been virtually nil. Whatever raw jute has arrived at mills is due to old contracts,” he said.

According to industry sources, jute produce in the 2016-17 season (July to June) was estimated to be around 90 lakh bales. About 30 per cent of the crop has arrived in the markets till mid-November while the supply of the remaining 70 per cent has been held up due to the cash shortage.

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This held-up supply may not come soon since there could be a tendency on part of the growers to hold on to stocks till normal cash supply is restored, according to millers.

“Recent income tax raids on private jute ‘mokams’ have already instilled fear among raw jute traders who are now shying away from supplying to mills,” a miller told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

“On an average, many mills do not have raw jute stocks beyond one month of normal production capacity,” Gupta said.

The end result could be a cut in production shifts, and resultant job losses for labourers.

“Raw jute stocks vary, depending on mill capacity. A small mill will suffer in terms of production and for want of raw jute. In that case, a miller will have no alternative but to cut down on production shifts,” IJMA member Sushant Agarwal said.

In October 2005, the JCI had purchased about two lakh bales of raw jute commercially and made it available to eligible mills in proportion to their spindle capacity.

“It is an opportune time for the JCI to enter the market and purchase raw jute commercially to protect farmers and sell the raw jute to mills based on their existing spindles and production control orders (basically, jute bag orders from the Centre) issued by the Jute Commissioner’s office,” the IJMA President said.

The industry feels it could face a double whammy due to possible dilution of government orders too in the wake of non-fulfilment of prior orders.

“About 80 per cent mill workers hold bank accounts while the rest don’t. Currently, these bank accounts are being registered with the jute mills. Bankers are also opening accounts of workers on the mill premises so that wages in future are given through bank transfers,” Gupta added. (IANS)

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Prime Minister Modi
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PM Narendra Modi Condemns Religious Violence on 71st Indian Independence Day, Warns “Will Not Accept Violence In The Name Of Faith”

PM Modi pitched in the slogan of "Bharat Jodo" (Unite India) this Independence Day.

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Narendra Modi
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation. VOA
  • India celebrates 71st Independence Day
  • Indian PM Narendra Modi addressed the nation from the Red Fort
  • “We cannot accept violence in the name of faith,” said PM Modi in his address to the countrymen

New Delhi, August 15, 2017: As India celebrates its 71st Independence Day, the countrymen alike waited for the dynamic Indian Prime Minister’s address to the nation. Pitching for harmony and peace in his address today, the Indian Prime Minister condemned violence in the name of astha (faith).

Following the unfurling of the national flag at Red Fort, Prime Minister Modi began his address to fellow Indians with the aspiration of building a ‘new India’, emphasizing that the country dwells upon concepts of equality and no distinctions should be made amongst people.

Throughout his address, the Indian Prime Minister touched upon issues that have been relevant in the Indian Diaspora in the last couple of months including the turmoil in Kashmir, Gorakhpur tragedy, demonetization, and triple talaq.

Referring to the persisting unrest in Kashmir, PM Modi spoke about the gali (abuse) and goli (bullet) association, asserting that these will not help resolve the issue. He emphasized on the need to embrace all Kashmiris.

Talking about violence, he also added that the country will show no mercy to terrorists, however they are free to enter the mainstream and have their issues addressed. PM Modi further stressed about countering the ill plaguing the world today saying that with India’s rising stature, it is supported in its stand to fight the menace of terrorism by the entire world.

ALSO READ: India Celebrates its 71st Independence Day: What People Want Freedom From?

In his nationwide address from the Red Fort, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also asserted that violence in the name of astha (faith) will not be accepted, calling casteism and communalism “poison” for the country.

This comes in a context where an increasing number of mob lynching cases have taken place, witnessing outrage in the country.

Touching upon the issue of casteism and religion, the PM asserted that India is a country of “shanti, ekta and sadbhavna” (peace, unity and goodwill) and that distinction on caste, community or religion, will not help us in our entirety.

As part of religious violence, religion acts either as the subject or the object of violent behavior. It is either motivated by, or is a reaction to religious beliefs, texts or doctrines. Contrary to popular notion, religious violence does not only refer to acts committed by religious groups, but also include attacks on religious groups. In the last few months, there have been significant such cases reported in India, including cases of mob lynching and attacks by cow vigilantes.

“There is no place for intolerance in today’s India; this is the land of Gandhi and Buddha” said PM Modi underlying that it is in the culture of the nation to walk collectively and peacefully on the path to development.

In his address, the Indian Prime Minister also asserted that the country had previously operated on the lines of “Bharat Chhodo” (Quit India) but now, that has transformed to “Bharat Jodo” (Unite India).

 


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