Social Scientist. v 6, no. 66-67 (Jan-Feb 1978) p. 83.


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ANIL RAI

Trends in the Jute Industry Since Independence

EVER since the partition of the country, the Indian jute industry has occupied a pre-eminent position in the Indian economy earning on average approximately one fifth of the total foreign exchange of the country through the export of jute goods and providing employment directly to about 2,50.,000 workers and indirectly to about 4 million agricultural families who were dependent on jute cultivation as their major source of income. Since the mid-sixties this industry has been faced with a prolonged recession and, except for a brief reversal of the declining trend mainly because of the spurt in demand following the dislocation of the economy of Bangladesh, this tendency towards stagnation has got progressively accentuated so that in 1976 spokesmen of the industry were arguing: "The outgoing 1975 will go down in the history of the jute industry as one of the worst years on account of a number of factors which brought about a financial crisis leading to closure of a number of weaker units/91

This paper attempts to: (a) sketch, in purely descriptive terms the main trends in the historical evolution of the jute industry since Independence; (b) isolate the operation of IJMA's working time agreements as the main element in analysing the law of motion in this industry in which quantity rather than price-adjustments in -the face of



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