Govt will do all possible to promote food processing sector, says Jyoti
Our Bureau, New Delhi
Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, minister of state for food processing industries, assured the food processing industry that the government would do all possible to promote and incentivise it, so that the farmers’ produce and manufacturers’ hard work is equally rewarded.
Inaugurating the fourth edition of India Farm 2 Fork, the international conference and exhibition under the aegis of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi, she said that in the 70 years since India has attained independence, nothing much had been done for the food processing sector.
“It is after Narendra Modi became the prime minister that the food processing sector became a priority sector, as it is he who referred to this sector during his address to the nation from the rampart of Red Fort,” said Jyoti.
“It was our government that reduced significantly the taxation, particularly the excise duty levied on food processing industries, from 10 per cent to six per cent, and in future, the government would take more initiatives so that this sector becomes vibrant and is on the global map,” she added.
Jyoti concluded her address with the hope that the industry and the farmers would build a partnership that is long-lasting for the growth of the food processing sector and reduce substantially the wastages by it.
J P Meena, special secretary, ministry of food processing industries (MoFPI) assured the industry that the goods and service tax (GST) regime (with higher taxation slabs) was unlikely to adversely affect this sector, as the available indications suggested that it would continue to be taxed at existing rates even post-GST.
He added that MoFPI was insisting that this sector be subjected to minimum taxation post-GST for its further growth and also to ensure that investments in it continue to be attractive so that linkages between agri-producers and manufacturers were established in a manner that it leads to the production of quality products at reasonable prices.
Meena also said that the government was going to put in place and evolve policies and schemes that would promote food processing industries, so much as also to bring down agri wastages by 50 per cent in the next 5-6 years from the currently estimated annual losses of Rs 1 lakh crore.
“With the proactive policies of the government of the day, and its commitment to improve on them, the average level of foreign direct investment (FDI) in food processing sector in the last three years has been to the tune of $500 million per annum,” he informed.
According to Meena, the mega food parks that have come up in 42 locations across the country are the major source of FDI in the food processing sector. He added that although sufficient infrastructure to set up processing units is available, the government would improve on it.
He called on the industry to improve their quality of processing to let India excel even on the exports front, as the government had already asked the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to streamline its safety standards and align them with Codex norms so that the country’s quality of food processing products become unquestionable.
“Whereas FSSAI has streamlined several of its safety standards, it is also in the process of introducing new norms so that the products that come out from food processing units meet the global quality standards and also facilitate India’s exports,” said Meena.
Others who spoke at the event included Priyanka Mittal, chairperson, agribusiness committee, PHD Chamber; R S Khanna, senior member, PHD Chamber, and chairman, Kwality Dairy Industries, and Devinder Chawla, partner, Ernst & Young India.