The Jute Manufacturers Development Council (JMDC) is a statutory body constituted under the Jute Manufacturers Development Council Act, 1983 under the chairmanship of Secretary, Department of Textiles on 1st May 1984. The avowed purpose and objective was to set up a council to undertake promotional activities which could go a long way to increase the efficiency and productivity of the Jute Industry. The Council is also engaged in export promotion in the Jute Sector and also activities in the domestic market in the said sector. The activities of the Council are funded from the proceeds of the cess levied on the production of jute under the Jute Manufacturers Cess Act 1983, by the Government. Section 11 of the Act empowers the council to borrow on the security of the Jute Fund or any other asset in order to carry out the purposes of the act. Soon after it was constituted, questions cropped up over the recent selection of members in the council. The council was a body corporate, having perpetual succession and a common seal. The head office of the Council is at Calcutta. It was to consist of a chairman in addition to various persons representing the interests of agriculture, commerce, finance, industry, civil supplies, co-operation, producers and exporters of jute manufacturers, jute growers, workmen employed in jute manufactures, jute experts and the like. Section 3(8) gives the power to the central government to take part in the proceedings of the council. The salary, terms and conditions of the incumbent of the office were the prerogative of the Central Government. The Council had to mandatory function in accordance with the rules made by the Central Government.
The Government of India through a Gazette Notification dated 14th June 2007, reconstituted the Jute Manufacturers Development Council for a period of two years with effect from 21st May 2007.
The Jute Manufacturers Development Council, incorporated under the Jute Manufacturers Development Council Act 1983 and the National Centre for Jute Diversification, set up by the Central Government,Ministry of Textiles were the institutions coordinating the operations and functions of organisations engaged in the Jute Sector. The National Jute Board Bill passed in 2006 provided for setting up of the National Jute Board incorporating the mandate of JMDC and NCJD. The reason for the merger was that both the organisations were having overlapping functions. There was lack of coordination between organisations engaged in the jute industry and the need to create synergy between activities led to the establishment of the Board. This means that every employee of the JMCD or the NCJD will become an employee of the National Jute Board. The bill specifies that all the transfers are to be made from the current jute coordinators to the National Jute Board. A jute Board Fund is constituted to which all grants and loans made by the central government after being approved by the parliament will be credited. The board is also entitled to tax exemptions or benefits available to JMCD or NCJD under the Income Tax Act 1961. The main function of the Board is to advise the Central Government on all matters related to Jute Development, cultivation, imports and exports. The bill lists 21 functions the board can undertake in relation to jute development. The Board will consist of 21 members appointed by the Central Government from the jute sector, representing the jute industry, jute research institutes and various relevant ministries including the Ministry of Textiles, Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Food and Public Distribution. The central government is also given powers in the case of grave emergency or persistent default by the board in not carrying out its instructions or in public interest. In the statement of objects and reasons of the National Jute Board, it has been stated that the National Jute Board will act as an umbrella body for the entire jute sector to avoid the multiplicity of efforts and programmes of various organizations in the jute sector.
by Ayeesha Mukherjee.