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Indian appetites to get Rs 2000-cr boost

Manmohan Singh gives his nod to set up 30 food parks in 25 locations in India, reports Chetan Chauhan.

business Updated: Apr 23, 2007 00:37 IST

India’s appetite for food is all set to get Rs 2,000 crore boost from the government.

On Thursday, a High Level Committee on Manufacturing (HCLM) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave final shape to a proposal for setting up 30 grand food parks in 25 locations in India under the public private partnership (PPP) mode. “Food parks would be one step location to buy any food stuff available in the market,” an official said. The locations were the parks would be set up has not been decided.

Each park to be set up with a government subsidy of Rs 50 crore will be an arena for wide range of packaged and processed food along with exotic cuisines covering nook and corner of the country. For that to happen, the empowered sub-committee of HCLM has suggested creating six strategic distribution centers (SDCs) to feed the parks with fresh food.

The parks and SDCs will be managed by a Special Purpose Vehicle to be created by the government to provide subsidies, manage supply chain and for building infrastructure.

The government believes the proposal will not only enhance manufacturing sector in the 11th five year plan, it will also the much needs growth impetus to the agriculture sector. But, before finalization of the proposal the government wants to seek the Finance ministry’s comments on the slew of financial incentives including “low and predictable” tax regime” as suggested by the empowered sub-committee of the HCLM.

If you can’t reach these exotic food parks, the government intends to bring this fresh food at your doorsteps through 50,000 food vending carts in 50 cities at the initial stage. And, it will also be a business opportunity for many, as government would provide 25 per cent subsidy for each “modernized” cart.

With vegetarians, care has also been taken of non-vegetarian food, who, can now hope of getting clean fresh flesh at the stores near their homes. The HCLM considered a proposal to modernize 50 abattoirs through viability gap funding to be supervised by the SPV.

Also, the government is looking at setting up of 30 integrated cold chain infrastructure in PPP mode and enhancing the subsidy from 25 per cent to 50 per cent. “The infrastructure has been aimed at providing fresh and hygienic food at a affordable price to the consumer but with a better price for the cultivator,” a senior government official explained.