Integrated Food Law On The Anvil: Sahai

New Delhi, July 28 | Updated: Jul 29 2004, 05:52am hrs
Union minister for food processing industries Subodh Kant Sahai has said that efforts are on to develop an integrated food law by the newly-constituted group of ministers (GoM) headed by agriculture minister Sharad Pawar. He said that his ministry had planned to set up at least 500 food parks across the country.

At an interactive session on food processing sector organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci) on Wednesday, Mr Sahai admitted that the existing food park scheme had been a non-starter at many places and therefore, a new scheme had been formulated taking into consideration the shortcomings in the earlier projects. Under the new scheme, a food park will be set up in each Lok Sabha constituency to boost the growth rate in the food processing sector.

Expressing concern over adulteration affecting Indias global market share, the minister said currently around 35 per cent of the products did not adhere to international quality standards and unless internationally competitive quality and safety benchmarks were evolved, the industry would not be able to tap foreign markets to its true potential.

The infrastructure handicap remains a big threat and will affect the long-term interests of the industry in the WTO-integrated environment.

Terming the emerging drought situation in various parts of the country as serious concern, Mr Sahai said that the government was devising strategies to face this challenge.

Speaking to the media in the sidelines of the session, the minister said, We are waiting till July 30 for any likely changes in the monsoon system. If the situation does not improve we will have to develop appropriate strategies. He assured that the government would take all steps to ensure that farmers did not suffer. The government has already initiated the process of assessing the situation, Mr Sahai added.