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MoFPI considering creating authority to oversee food processing operations
Friday, 19 May, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The ministry of food processing industries (MoFPI) is actively considering the creation of an apex body to oversee the food processing and allied sector activities. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, minister of food processing industries, said this while releasing a draft on the new National Food Processing Policy after her recent visit to Japan.

She opined that there should be a body that would collaborate with the various departments, schemes and sub-sectors within the food processing sector.

According to a senior MoFPI official, the National Food Grid is actively under consideration, and could be the national coordination body for the food processing sector.

Under this, related issues, from farmgate to market, reefer vehicles, cold chain grids, food park clusters and mega food parks, will be dealt with.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Cabinet had recently given its nod to the ministry’s scheme, SAMPADA, for creating better infrastructure for the agro and marine processed food industry. The minister also revealed that a budget of Rs 6,000 crore had been approved for the said scheme.

The other subject the ministry is actively pursuing is foreign direct investment (FDI) in food retail. Although the policy got the approval of the government last year, the ministry appears to be struggling to get any concrete announcement by the investors.

The bone of contention remains the model of the business. The investors emphasised that they should be allowed to sell other products, such as personal care, alongside processed foods manufactured in India.

Meanwhile, the ministry has put up the matter before the prime minster’s office (PMO) and a decision on that is expected.

The ministry expects that the government will take the decision before the World Food Summit, scheduled to take place in New Delhi later this year, and major announcements with regards to FDI would be made during the meet.
 
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