Food processing projects to get major sop (Lead)

August 5th, 2008 - 5:26 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) The government will refund 50 percent of the project cost in the food processing sector to the promoter, minister of state for food processing Subodh Kant Sahay said here Tuesday. “The food processing sector is a tax free sector, where the government provides tax holidays to investors,” Sahay said at a seminar on food safety and quality in kitchen organised by industry lobby Confederation of Indian Industry.

“We will refund 50 percent of the entire cost of the project to facilitate growth,” he added.

The food processing industry is growing at 13.7 percent as compared to six percent four years ago, the minister said.

Food processing secretary Rahul Sarin said India plans to increase the level of food processing from 2 percent at present to 20-35 percent by 2015.

“This would require not only reduction of wastage but also enhancement of food safety and quality”, he added.

Sahai said the ministry has restructured its thrust areas on the basis of a detailed review of the 10th Plan.

“Infrastructure development would be given high priority during the 11th Plan, which will have a direct bearing on food safety and quality,” he said.

A scheme to help street food vendors improve hygiene and the quality of their fare will be launched soon, the minister said, adding: “The vendors would be identified, profiled, and trained in food safety.”

Sahai also said the government plans to set up about 50 food testing laboratories - that is a minimum of one laboratory per state - in order to initiate better food standards.

Additionally, India needs to fine-tune food safety laws as several European Union countries reject its food samples repeatedly, the minister later told IANS.

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