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Delhi awaits new facilitation centre: Licensing & registration of FBOs
Thursday, 16 May, 2013, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
THE licensing and registration of food business operators (FBOs), an exercise which is in progress in other parts of the country for the last one-and-a-half years, has still not started in New Delhi. The reason for this is said to be that the department of food is awaiting the completion of furnishing of the new facilitation centre coming up at Mayur Bhawan in Connaught Place.

It is pertinent to mention here that the deadline for licensing and registration expired, a couple of months ago, but was extended by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) till February 2014. Thus while three months of the extended deadline have already passed, the furnishing is yet to begin. Nevertheless, it has been learnt that the department has taken some steps for the giant task and appointed designated officers for the purpose of keeping an eye on the progress, once the work starts.

K J R Burman, food safety commissioner, Delhi, explained to F&B News, "The centre at Mayur Bhawan would act as a facilitation centre for the purpose of licensing and registration for the districts where our officials would help and guide the applicants in filing of the papers." He felt that the delay was due to logistical difficulties.

Meanwhile, the biggest hurdle in the process of licensing and registration was the manpower, so the office of the Delhi food safety commissioner decided to make the whole process online. For this as well, the nod by the Food Safety and Standards authority of India (FSSAI) was still awaited by the authorities, though the State Bank of India had agreed to help the department in deposition of fees and so on.

While there were reports of the beginning of the process, Burman clarified that full-fledged operations would only start when the facilitation centre would get furnished with all the necessities. He informed that only those FBOs who operate within and outside Delhi  needed Central licences. Therefore they applied for the same and their matter was considered while the FBOs operating in Delhi needed to wait further.

He suggested that the focus of the department would remain the big players of food business having turnover of more than Rs 12 lakh, for which the licensing fee ranges from Rs 2,000 to Rs 7,500, depending upon criteria like the annual turnover in terms of money and in terms of volume or import or export of food items.

Burman said, "For those categories, FBOs need various kind of licences like regional licensing or Central licensing." At Mayur Bhawan, facilitation would be provided to FBOs for all 11 districts of New Delhi.

Though it was still not clear as to how many FBOs would be operating in the national capital, Burman said that he expected the numbers on the lines of Mumbai, where some 1.5 lakh licensing and registrations were done so far.

Burman said that his department had done a lot of homework and hoped that efforts put in by the department would bear fruit.
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