Thursday, March 25, 2010


Every politician loves the media because their utterances, however non-nonsensical they may be, have some news value for mass circulated news papers. The monotonous regularity with which policy announcements are made by ministers only to be forgotten soon, is like writing in water. If 10% of the pronouncements by the cabinet minister at the Center in charge of food processing industry during the last 6 years had come true, Indian food industry should have been in "Cloud Nine" to day surpassing China and the US. In reality look where the country is in global food trade, being not able to garner even 1% of the world exports! Here comes a profound declaration by one of the Ministers in Karnataka who seems to be blissfully unaware of what is happening elsewhere in the country!

"Karnataka will become the first state in India to have a separate policy for the food processing industries, according to state Minister for Large and Medium Scale Industries Murugesh Nirani. 'We had success in IT (information technology) and BT (biotechnology). Now, we are focusing on FT or food technology,' Nirani told the media here Friday after a meeting with Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Subodh Kant Sahay. 'We are creating a new department for food technology and have appointed a senior IAS officer for this department,' he added. The minister said that the state would frame a new industrial policy for the food processing sector before June this year, when the state would host a global investors' meet".

While Karnataka has impressive credentials in the IT sector, claiming exalted status in BT industry may at best be a boast not sustained by facts. One Biocon at Bangalore or a Lalchand Biotech at Mysore does not make an imposing industry and the state has a long way to go to establish as a force to reckon with in the BT area. As for the so called new initiative in creating a "Department of Food Technology with a senior IAS officer", one can only pity the level of comprehension the Minister has regarding food industry development. Way back in late eighties when the MFPI was formed, GOI wanted all states to set up dedicated ministries for food industry and it is unfortunate that Karnataka is taking more than two decades even for "considering" such a step. What can one expect from such politicians in charge of food industry development who are ignorant of the fundamentals of the subject?


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