Business India ×
 Climate Change

Skill Development
Published on: June 10, 2020, 5:59 a.m.
Jute Corporation of India offers a sustainable alternative
  • New designs in a decentralised manner

By Dr S.K. Panda. Former Secretary, Textiles Ministry
C

arbon emission and global warming leading to climate change have posed a challenge of unprecedented magnitude before humanity in the 21st century. Tackling climate change  is a key component of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030.

Interventions for checking climate change have been adequately covered in clause (iv) of this list under “Ensuring environmental sustainability, ecological balance… conservation of natural resources and maintaining quality of soil, air and water”.

Against this backdrop, the Jute Corporation of India (JCI) has taken some path-breaking initiatives. JCI was set up as a Central Public Sector Enterprises in 1971 to protect the interest of the growers through procurement of Jute, a natural fibre, under the Minimum Support Price (MSP).

The Corporation procures jute from the primary producers in over 500 jute procurement centres set up in the jute-growing areas. Along with its other activities, JCI has been implementing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects since 2014-15 by earmarking two per cent of its profit which comes to about Rs40 lakh in a year. However, it could spend only about half the earmarked amount on activities like Swachhata Abhiyaan in schools, construction of toilets, organisation of health camps and financial assistance to needy students.

In 2019-20 the company prioritised promotion of Jute Diversified Products (JDP) - an eco-friendly alternative to plastic for conservation of environment and checking global warming. Further, this was taken up with gender sensitivity by empowering the rural women with skill, resource and technology to produce and market JDP in bulk with quality and new design in a decentralised manner.

The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) was roped in for design development and product diversification. Skill development and entrepreneurship of the rural women was supported under CSR through organisation having expertise in production and marketing of JDP.

The NIFT campuses in Kolkata and Bhubaneswar, located in the major-jute growing areas, were identified for taking up market study, design development, handholding producers groups for production on a commercial scale. Organisations with expertise in training and production of JDP were selected to train rural women.

It is expected that the new approach, though small, will make the meaningful difference in CSR making a dent in climate change. This innovative experiment will guide other companies in identifying and implementing CSR projects for checking climate change in a meaningful manner.


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