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Badal assumes office as food processing minister and spells out plans
Thursday, 06 June, 2019, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who was appointed minister of food processing industries in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second cabinet too, has assumed office in New Delhi. She stated that her ministry’s focus over the next five years will be employment generation, especially in the rural areas, along with the introduction of the model food processing policy. She added that her efforts for a non-banking financial institution shall also continue.

Speaking to press after assuming charge at the Ministry of Food Processing Industries’ (MoFPI) headquarters in New Delhi, Badal stated that the focus of the ministry shall also be on turning farmers into entrepreneurs.

She added that MoFPI, before the election, had approved the Gram Samriddhi Yojna, which will be implemented with the help of World Bank, and will give impetus to the rural economy through value addition and food processing. She informed that the scheme was going to be launched soon. The programme will focus on micro-enterprises (i.e., enterprises whose capitalisation is less than Rs 10 lakh).

“For the next five years, employment generation is going to be my focus, especially in rural areas, so that the children of farmers do not have to look for employment elsewhere. Farmers should turn into job creators from being job seekers,” said Badal.

She added, “The aim is to target small farmers, and the ministry will aim to facilitate creation of 60,000-70,000 such units within a short time. The pilot project will be done in four states, and the initiative will be expanded subsequently.”

Meanwhile, Badal stated that her efforts for creation of a non-banking financial institution for the food processing sector will continue, along with the push for a model food processing policy in the country.

“An NBFC to provide funds to the food processing sector will also be my focus. I will also push for a National Food Processing Policy, which I had presented in the last day of the last session,” she added.

Stating that another focus area would be investment, Badal said, “World Food India is almost here, and it will be bigger and better than last time. I will soon conduct a review meeting of the officers to understand the progress that has taken place in the past few months.”

Meanwhile, she welcomed the new minister of state for food processing industries, Rameshwar Teli, and said that she hoped that with his arrival, the food processing sector in the North-East will get a boost, as the region has a tremendous potential. She stated that it will be one of her focus geographies henceforth.
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