The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has urged health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to constitute an expert committee to look in to the provisions of the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006. The committee should comprise of food policy analysts, experts, senior government officials and representatives of trade, it said.
It has also termed the Act as “draconian, unrealistic, impracticable” and said that it will ensure that street hawkers, small and medium traders are not able to perform business. It said, the Act will kill the existing business structure. The Confederation has demanded the government to keep the Act in abeyance till the report of the proposed expert committee is received.
CAIT is holding a national conference of trade leaders on May 10 and 11 in New Delhi to draw a programme for national agitation.
BC Bhartia, national president, CAIT, said that the Act prescribes the traders to prepare an audit report, obtain clearance from state pollution control board, get no-objection certificate from municipal corporation, medical certificates of workers, graduate technologist and a separate audit report made from milk, which is not possible under the Indian food conditions. The Act is framed in utter disregard of the ground realities and will promote big corporate houses as well to enter into food business, he added.
The traders are opposing the Act as they believe it will empower authorities to impose penalties at their discretion. “This would trigger further corruption,” CII said in a statement.