Harsimrat Badal says Centre to sympathetically consider demands of food processing industry

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Union minister for Food Processing Industry Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Saturday interacting with a number of industrialists at the Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana along with Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Ludhiana, July 5, 2014: Union minister for Food Processing Industry Harsimrat Kaur Badal today said the centre would sympathetically consider the issues raised by representatives of various industries including interest subvention, IT exemption for a definite period and subsidising technical upgradation to give a fillip to the food processing industry in Punjab.
Interacting with a number of industrialists at the Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana along with Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, the Union minister asked the industrialists about the problems being faced by them as well as what incentives they required from the central government to give a boost to food processing in Punjab.
Following the interaction, Badal said she would consider the demand of industrialists for an interest subvention of five to six per cent which could be paid directly to banks in order to make food processing industries more competitive. She said similarly IT exemption for a period of five years would also be considered.
There was also a demand from fruit and vegetable growers for the transfer of latest as well as affordable post harvest technology. Badal said subsidising of post harvest technology as well as ensuring subsidised machinery and identification of best food production technologies would be considered.
Badal also assured the industrialists that her ministry would look into their demand for reduction of excise duty on all food production items as well as equipment. She gave this assurance after industrialists said they found it difficult to be competitive with their counterparts as Punjab is situated far away from ports.
Meanwhile Sukhjit Starch managing director I K Sardana said there was an urgent need for mini food parks in Punjab as land was expensive and also not available easily. He also urged that the benefits available to mega food parks should also be given to mini food parks. Another industrialist Ramesh Maggu of Kitty Bread also urged that priority sector lending should be available for food processing industries. Badal assured that both these demands would be considered sympathetically.
Anoop Bector of Cremica Foods said the food processing industry in Punjab was burdened by a number of taxes. He said biscuit makers had to pay excise duty on any biscuits costing more than Rs 100 per kg. Similarly rusk manufacturers highlighted the high VAT rate being charged from them which Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal assured to review. The Deputy CM also assured to consider the demand for changing the definition of small scale industry from the present Rs 5 crore to Rs ten crore.
Earlier Financial Commissioner, Development Suresh Kumar highlighted that grants under the food processing ministry were being given as per area and population under the Gadgil formula. He said this needed to be reviewed as food processing industries needed to be established in States where food grains, vegetables and fruits were available in abundance for processing. He also advocated creation of food clusters as per the need of a particular area.

Date: 
Saturday, July 5, 2014