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Help Desk for investors in food processing industry

New Delhi, Dec 18 (KNN)  Ministry of Food Processing Industries and 'Invest India' have entered into an agreement for the setting up of an Investors' 'Help Desk' for offering online support to investors, both domestic and foreign, with regard to their queries, guide them and provide hand holding services particularly at the initial stage of setting up their units.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Sharad Pawar observed, “The initiative is first of its kind not only for Ministry of Food Processing Industries, for that matter the Government of India, but also for Invest India. It is a prestigious venture for all of us and we hope that investors in the food processing sector will immensely benefit from this initiative.”

“Invest India”, a joint venture between DIPP and FICCI, has a mandate to promote foreign investment in India and acts as a first point of reference for global investing community. Given its mandate and expertise, “Invest India” is favourably placed to guide the investors in setting up their food processing units.
It was in this background, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries entered in to an agreement with Invest India for online support to the investors in the food processing sector.

The government has been offering a number of fiscal incentives for promoting the food processing sector. Apart from this, a number of schemes are being implemented for promoting this sector by extending grant in aid. These include setting up of Mega Food Parks, cold chains, and abattoirs, and setting up and up-gradation of technology of food processing units.
The government has also launched a National Mission on Food Processing in April 2012 with a view to ensure active participation of state government in this endeavour. In the recent years, the food processing sector has been growing at a pace much faster than agriculture and the manufacturing sector. There is a need to accelerate this pace by disseminating the benefits extended by the government among the investors so that they are able to appreciate the attractiveness of this sector and make informed decisions on investment.

Foreign investors need something more than mere dissemination of information. The Government has permitted foreign direct investment up to 100 per cent in the food processing sector through automatic route. There is a need to proactively market India as an attractive destination. In terms of market size, India has a domestic market of over a billion population, with 300 million strong middle class consumers.
India’s domestic food market is estimated to reach USD 258 billion by 2015. India is a richly endowed agricultural nation and is favourably positioned in terms of closeness to markets in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia.
Of late, this sector has been attracting a lot of attention from foreign investors. These investors need some hand holding services in the initial stages so that they can easily tackle the requirements of different procedural formalities for setting up their manufacturing activities.

Ministry of Food Processing Industries had earlier released a book “Opportunities in Agri Business: State profiles” and launched an “Investors’ Portal” for the food processing industry. These two initiatives are intended to provide information, particularly to investors, about infrastructure facilities for setting up food processing units, availability of raw materials, marketing infrastructure, sector specific state agencies and fiscal incentives in a user friendly mode.
The current initiative is intended to offer online support to investors with regard to their queries and provide hand holding services in the initial stages of setting up their units.
The agreement was signed today by Economic Adviser, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Gajendra Bhujabal, and Managing Director, ‘Invest India’  Arbind Prasad, in presence of the Union Minister.