1. The jute industry developed with the setting up of five power driven jute mills in Rishra in 1885.
2. It is the second important agro-based industry after the cotton industry because:
(а) It provides employment to over 6 lakh people.
(б) It provides foreign exchange.
(c) It also supports other industries.
3. The jute industry is concentrated in West Bengal because of the following reasons:
(a) The raw materials is obtained from the region of the Ganga-Brahmaputra Delta.
(b) Coal is obtained from Raniganj and Jharia closeby.
(c) River transport helps a great deal. It is also well connected by road and railways.
(d) Cheap labour is easily available from the nearby states of U.P., Bihar and Orissa.
(e) The humid climate helps in the spinning of jute.
(f) Kolkata, situated close by provides port facilities.
4. The jute industry has, however suffered a set back recently due to the following factors:
(а) As the jute industry is agro-based, irregular supply of the raw material has led people to turn to substitutes like sisal, hemp and synthetic material.
(b) Demand for jute has decreased from U.S.A after the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
(c) There is low productivity due to constant strikes in the mills.
(d) Machinery has become old and obsolete and needs to be replaced.
5. Efforts have been made by the Government to find new uses for jute. Recently jute is being used for making furnishings, car upholstery, sail cloth, carpets and material.
6. Carpets are being exported to U.S.A., Canada, U.K. and other countries.
7. In spite of the increasing use of synthetic products jute still is cheap, strong and has a resale value.