Once in a while an Indian citizen has justification to rejoice on what the government is doing and the proposal by the MFPI of GOI to aggressively promote establishing of food processing industry through financial incentives is a welcome development. The proposal on the face of it looks attractive and helpful to new entrepreneurs but how efficiently it will be implemented will determine its impact. Talking in terms of millions of rupees may put off many a budding entrepreneur because of the impression it creates about the size of the project which will have to be big to deserve such assistance. Still the scheme has a potential to attract talented entrepreneurs with right mix of intelligence and enterprising quality and if unnecessary red tapism is cut to the minimum while releasing the grants, there could be many takers.
"Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MFPI) has been implementing various schemes for promotion and development of food processing industries in the country. MFPI through its various schemes for financial assistance and other promotional measures facilitates creation of food related infrastructure including processing facilities aimed at reducing wastages, enhancing value addition and increasing shelf life. Under the Scheme for Technology Up gradation/ Modernization/ Establishment of Food Processing Industries, MFPI extends financial assistance to food processing industries in the form of grant-in-aid @ 25% of the cost of plant and machinery and technical civil works subject to a maximum of Rs. 50.00 lakh in general area or 33.33% subject to maximum of Rs. 75.00 lakh in difficult areas such as Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, North Eastern States, A&N Islands, Lakshadweep and ITDP areas. In addition, under the Technology Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture in North Eastern and Himalayan States, higher levels of assistance @ 50% up to maximum of Rs. 4.00 Crore for setting up and Rs. 1.00 Crore for Up gradation of fruit and vegetables processing is available. A National Horticulture Mission (NHM) has been launched with an objective to boost the horticulture sector.
The problem with such press releases from the GOI is that they are not aimed at the entrepreneurs but the media to splash them in their news carriers for getting a boost to the image of the government. Those who try to make use of the schemes know how difficult it is to go through the bureaucratic establishment to get the sanction and the immense logistical problems encountered in getting the grants released from the concerned offices. In stead of doling put millions of rupees to multi million rupee projects, MFPI must consider promoting micro enterprises at the village levels so that thousands of processing units bloom in the rural backyard of this country where the real soul of the country flourishes! 800 and odd District Industries Center, set up during 1977, now almost defunct can be used for delivering such a service after modernizing their infrastructure and personnel base.