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FOOD PROCESSING

MoFPI releases consolidated list of food parks to open NABARD fund
Saturday, 02 June, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The ministry of food processing industries (MoFPI) has released a consolidated list of food parks in a bid to open the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) fund of Rs 2,000 crore to more food processing units.

The list contained a total of 201 designated parks, including mega parks, food parks, industrial areas, industrial estates, private parks, integrated infrastructure development centres, export promotion industrial parks, industrial growth centres, integrated food parks, agro-processing clusters and industrial complexes.  

An office order by MoFPI stated that for the purpose of making available affordable credit to agro processing units in the designated food parks from the Food Processing Fund 2015-16, established by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) at NABARD, it notified the consolidated list  of 201 designated food parks.

It must be mentioned here that the NABARD fund was announced by the Central government, in its Budget proposal in 2014-15, with a corpus of Rs 2,000 crore. But there weren’t many takers for the fund, which is available to the units at rate of 9.25 per cent interest. Until now, a large part of the fund could not be disbursed on the account of restriction of its use for units in the food parks only.

However according to MoFPI officials, since the announcement of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayi Yojana (PMKSY), more clusters would come up, and the fund would be utilised. In 2015-16, the number of designated parks was 150. In the last three years, 51 food parks were included.

Meanwhile, experts opined that the corpus fund should be open to all the units, irrespective whether it is situated in a park or outside. Still there is a need felt for removing the restriction of food parks.

Arpita Mukherjee, professor, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), said, “If there is a benefit given to the food processing sector, it should be open for all, and not linked to where they are located.”

“The loan from NABARD was given to attract units to mega food parks, and the fact that there are not many takers indicates that units still find the mega food park policy to be unattractive,” she added.

“In this circular, a list of food parks is given, and only units in those will get the benefits. I am not sure if this covers all types of food parks in the country,” Mukherjee said.

She suggested that since there were no takers for the policy the government has come up with, it was better to understand the need before coming up with a policy.

“I don’t know if there has been any study to understand whether there is a need for a loan from NABARD; if so, whether all units need it or only those located in food park need it, how is this loan and the eligibility criteria compared to other schemes for loans [for example, by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI)], etc.,” Mukherjee added.
 
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