In an effort to make the plastic bag ban successful, the Delhi government is considering extending financial and legal help to makers of eco-friendly bags so that they are in abundance for consumers.
While an official decision is awaited, the state has initiated the process of registering eco-friendly bag makers on a database to study their output capacity, modes of operation and dynamics of the businesses. A public notice has been issued inviting them to register.
“We need to ascertain exactly how many eco-friendly bags Delhi can produce at present and what is the shortfall. Accordingly, the government may facilitate financial assistance for the sector to grow. Delhi cannot depend solely on the supply (of eco-friendly bags) from outside to make the ban successful,” said a senior official who did not wish to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The environment department has invited all Delhi manufacturers to prepare the database and understand the nature of this sector, which is expected to boom exponentially in the coming months.
“Apart from financial assistance, one needs to create legal framework for these units as well. If a small-scale maker increases capacity to respond to high demand, then he should not be treated on a par with industrial units liable to follow laws pertaining to industries. We want to create conducive legal environment for players of certain sizes so that commercially producing these bags becomes hassle-free,” he said.
Earlier, the state had written to the customs commissionerate and VAT collectorate to give discounts to biodegradable bags, the only kind allowed in Delhi’s “non-market” areas.
“We do not have the money to increase production overnight. It is good that the government is keen on understanding our sector and making matters easy. We have been fighting plastic bags for years now,” said Arun Kumar of Adhaar, which makes jute bags.
Sameer Gora of TAARA, which makes handmade paper bags, said: “This will help us tide over the slump in the business thanks to the slowdown.”