SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES AN INDIAN PERSPECTIVEINTRODUCTIONJute IndustryJute is otherwise known as the 'Golden Fiber' -a plant that produces a fiber, mainly used for sacking andcordage. This raw material is used for sacks, globally and is the most versatile fibers of nature. Differentforms of handicrafts also use this fiber. Jute is cheap and important among all textile fibers, after cotton.Potential of Jute industryThe jute industry has been expanding really fast spanning from a wide range of life style consumerproducts, with all courtesy to the versatility of Jute. Innovative ways of bleaching, dyeing and finishingprocesses - the jute industry now provides finished jute products that are softer, have a luster and alsoan aesthetic appeal.Changing scenario of Jute industryAt present, jute has been defined as an eco-friendly natural fiber with utmost versatility ranging fromlow value geo-textiles to high value carpet, apparel, composites, decoratives, upholstery furnishings etc.In future, a number of jute mills and mini-jute plants have been seen to be engaged in jute products and jute blended yarns. We all know that the uses of jute are manifold, with the traditional usage patternremaining constricted to packing, hessian and carpet backing.The jute sector in India engages a key role in the Indian economy, providing direct employment to about0.26 million workers, and supporting the lives of around 4.0 million farm families. Around 0.14 millionpeople are believed to be engaged in the tertiary sector, that supports the jute industry. Currently it alsocontributes to exports to the tune of about Rs. 1000 crore.Jute Production in IndiaImport of Raw Jute in 2008-09 has dropped by 66% in quantity and by 55% in value terms, whereasimport of jute products saw a surge by 23% in quantity and by 47% in value terms when compared withthe figures of 2007-08. The EXIM Policy states that import of raw jute and jute products in India shouldbe considered as free items without duty.