Hon’ble Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal along with Hon’ble MoS Food Processing Industries Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti held an interactive session with media and highlighted various initiatives of the Government. Hon’ble Minister said that one of the major achievements in regard to transforming Food Economy through Food Processing has been creation of huge 32 Lakh MT Capacity worth Rs.9000 crores within two years which shall reduce wastage by 10% per annum i.e. Rs.9200 crores every year.
India has started moving toward Zero Tolerance of Food Wastages. Emphasizing the need to adopt Zero Tolerance on food wastages by all departments connected to food, Smt. Badal said that initiatives of MoFPI have now started bearing fruits and her target is to bring down the food wastages to zero level. To do that she highlighted the way she piloted the 100% FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) into Multi Brand Retail of Swadeshi Food produced and manufactured in India as one of the major steps along with the creation of huge capacity by way of 37 Mega Food Parks and 134 Cold Chain projects. Further, Hon’ble Minister also announced that Ministry shall be announcing 100 Cold Chain Projects and a SAMPADA scheme focusing on seamless agri cluster development in the current year that shall take food processing industries to the next level.
Government has sanctioned 37 Mega Food Parks out of which 8 have been operationalized (6 in 2 years of NDA tenure vs 2 in 10 years of UPA tenure). Out of 134 Cold Chain Projects sanctioned 81 have been completed (44 in 2 years of NDA tenure vs. 37 during UPA tenure). Through Cold Chains alone, we have added a capacity of 1.28 Lakh Metric ton of Cold Storages/CA/MA, 53.05 MT per hour of Individual Quick Freeze (IQF), 19 lakh litres per day of Milk Processing and 240 Reefer vans, said the Hon’ble Minister.
Food Processing is an employment intensive sector and to facilitate investments, a single window facilitation cell has been created to handhold overseas and domestic investors in food processing sector.
A Food Map identifying surplus and deficit areas of various agricultural and horticulture produce in the country has been made and is available on website of the ministry.
A Special Fund of Rs.2000 crores has been set up in NABARD to make available affordable credit to agro processing units in the designated food parks.
Hon’ble Minister also announced that the Ministry shall be launching a Mobile App to provide ONE STOP information to farmers/ entrepreneurs to provide necessary skill set to them for setting up food processing units.
Briefing about tax incentives Hon’ble Minister said that in last two years, Excise Duty on machinery for processing has been reduced from 10% to 6%. Pre-cold Storage services like pre-conditioning, pre-cooling, ripening, waxing, retail packing, labeling of fruits and vegetables have been exempted from Services Tax. Loans to food & agro-based processing units and Cold Chains have been classified under agriculture activities for Priority Sector Lending subject to aggregate sanctioned limit of Rs.100 crore per borrower.
Ministry has launched an ONLINE SYSTEM to file claims under flagship schemes like Mega Food Park and Cold Chains to remove human interface and improve transparency. Ministry has also simplified procedures by reducing requirement of documents/affidavits and created Grievance Redressal Mechanism so that promoters are given opportunity of Personal Hearing.
Since September 2015, 24084 persons have been trained in food processing sector under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana.
The Hon’ble Minister pointed out that her next target is to create small and medium enterprises in food processing sector all over the country, and to give it a big push she has launched a new scheme ‘SAMPADA’ to focus on seamless development of Agri Processing clusters close to the surplus production areas. All these initiatives of the Ministry of Food Processing shall contribute in a big way in doubling farmers’ income and reducing food wastages.