The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by PM Narendra Modi has given its approval for the increase in the minimum support price (MSP) for raw jute for 2017-18 season to protect the economic interests of the farmers. It has been increased to Rs 3,500 per quintal for 2017-18, an increase of Rs 300 (9.4 per cent) over the previous year. During last three years (2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18), government has increased the MSP for jute from Rs 2,700 to Rs 3,500 (29.6 per cent) as compared to increase from Rs 2,200 to Rs 2,400 (9.1 per cent) in the preceding three years (2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15). Jute is mainly used as raw material for packaging industry. The increase in MSP would benefit the jute industry, which supports the livelihood of around 40 lakh farm families and provides direct employment to 3.7 lakh workers in organised mills and in diversified units including tertiary sector and allied activities. These farm families are mainly concentrated in the states of West Bengal, Bihar and Assam, which account for over 95 per cent of the area as well as jute production in the country. New varieties of jute viz., JRO-204, JBO-2003, JRS-517, JRC-532 and JRO-2407 are being promoted by providing support for seeds production under National Food Security Mission (NFSM)-Commercial Crops. National Seeds Corporation Limited has entered into agreement for promotion of new varieties of jute seeds in the jute growing states.