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Badal chairs meet on food processing industry , post-lockdown scenario
Thursday, 30 April, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
Union Minister of Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal has chaired a video conference with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and its members to discuss the current outlook of food processing industry and requirements of the industry post-lockdown scenario.

The minister was welcomed by the secretary-general of FICCI Dilip Chenoy and was also thanked for her continuous support to the food industry since the beginning of the lockdown.

Badal cited the importance of the industry to revive its operations at full capacity without compromising the measures for containment of spread of Covid- 19. The task force of the ministry, led by senior officials and members of Invest India, has already been coordinating with the industry members and assisting them with the issues / challenges faced across states.

She pointed out the major concern of losing the harvested crops and perishables in different parts of the country. During the video conference held on Tuesday, the minister requested all members to come forward to procure these harvested wheat, paddy, fruits & vegetables and other perishables so that wastage can be minimised and the farmers are benefitted.
The industry members cited few existing issues for necessary intervention of the ministry. These included requirement of SOP for operating facilities in different containment zones, dedicated nodal officials for the food processing industry at state levels to address challenges, standardised protocol for issuing worker passes to operate facilities and maintain supply chain, re-evaluating the process of identifying Covid clusters / regions and so on.

She agreed with the industry’s voice on requirement of detailed guidelines for the food factories to operate in containment zones as well as with the idea of 60-75% workers being allowed to operate in facilities if industry was able to ensure necessary measures to protect their workers. Ideas on reviving the retail industry were also invited from the industry.

The members mentioned that the food industry was expected to witness growth due to in-home increase in demand of larger value food packs and also shared that the industry would start reviving as soon as the supply chain got re-established.

Pushpa Subrahmanyam, Secretary, Food Processing Industries, Government of India, thanked FICCI and its members for their support in maintaining the supply of food products in this critical time. It was apprised that the required advisories were already issued by the government to address the challenges related to logistics, warehouse operations, movement of workers and vehicles and so on. The Secretary, FPI, advised the industry members to share specific issues with the Grievance Cell to enable the team to resolve the same. A working model was also invited from the industry for the government to consider allowing greater workforce to join the facilities. Suggestions were also invited from the members to frame a scheme to support the food industry.

Hemant Malik, chair, FICCI Food Processing Committee, and CEO, ITC Foods Division, and leading industry members including Simon Geroge, president Cargill India; T Krishnakumar, president, Coca-Cola India; Mohit Anand, MD, Kellogg India; Deepak Iyer, president, India Mondelez International; Sanjay Sharma, CEO, MTR Foods; R S Sodhi, MD, Amul; Tarun Arora, CEO, Zydus Wellness; among many others, shared their inputs on the present scenario of the industry and ideas to move forward.
Industry members were apprised that these recommendations were already taken up with concerned ministries for necessary action.

The minister assured industry members of necessary support from the ministry and advised all members to get in touch with the task force for any assistance.
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