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Bengal Jute Inquiry Committee Reports


Bengal Jute Inquiry Committee Reports (1934 and 1939) government reports concerning the problems faced by the jute growers during the period of the Great depression and afterwards. From 1929, jute price in the world market became highly unstable and consequently the domestic jute market of Bengal was also affected very unfavourably. Low price of jute in one season led to low acreage of jute accompanied by its higher price in the next, and subsequently followed by higher acreage and lower price, again. Such swings in the jute production and marketing had great economic and political impact on the country, because jute turned out to be the backbone of the economy of Bengal and because jute growers were becoming increasingly indebted. Peasant unrest was seen in all jute growing districts.

Faced with a politically grave jute crisis, the Bengal Government set up successively two Jute Inquiry Committees, one in 1934 and the other in 1939. The terms of reference of both committees were more less the same: advance for jute production, jute price, peasant indebtedness, ways and means of recovering from the erratic jute production and marketing. Both the committees reported the indebted conditions of jute growers, jute credit, jute acreage and jute marketing.

The committees mainly inquired into issues of restriction of jute cultivation, voluntary restriction and its effect on the prices of raw jute, the manufacture and marketing of finished products, role of the middlemen, impact of synthetic substitutes, and marketing strategy. One recommendation (1940) was to enact a law restricting jute production. [Enayetur Rahim]