Union minister for food processing industry Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Saturday said the Centre would sympathetically consider the issues raised by representatives of various industries, including interest subvention, income tax (I-T) exemption for a definite period, and subsidising technical upgradation to give a fillip to the food processing industry in the state.
Interacting with industrialists at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) along with deputy chief minister (CM) Sukhbir Singh Badal, the union minister asked 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 here.
Following the interaction, the union minister added she would consider the demand of industrialists for an interest subvention of 5 to 6%, which could be paid directly to banks in order to make food processing industries more competitive.
She said that income tax 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. The minister said subsidising of post-harvest technology as well as ensuring subsidised machinery and identification of best food production technologies would be considered by the government.
She also assured industrialists to look into their demand for reduction of excise duty on all food production items as well as equipment, after industrialists apprised her that they are finding it difficult to be competitive with their counterparts as Punjab was situated far away from ports.
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.
“This needed to be reviewed as food processing industries need to be established in states where foodgrains, vegetables and fruits are available in abundance for processing,” he said.
He also advocated creation of food clusters as per the need of a particular area.