All entrepreneurs/investors in the North East Region (NER) have been appealed by Rameswar Teli, Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries to visit the Ministry website (http://www.mofpi.nic.in) to get the further details and to apply for the assistance to set up food processing or preservation industries for the benefit of the mass as well as for a vibrant food ecosystem in the region.
Till now, 53 food processing/preservation industries have been sanctioned by the Ministry in the different States of the NER in several supply chain units in the food-processing sector. The project costs totals to Rs. 980 crores with a total subsidy commitment of Rs. 480 crores. About 3 lakh farmers will get benefitted with these projects to dispose off their surplus agricultural produce. Also, about 50,000 persons would be availed direct and indirect employment opportunities.
16 projects have been completed and are functional by now providing benefits to about 70,000 farmers and creating direct and indirect job opportunities for about 6,500 persons. Thus, this food-processing sector is proving itself as a very prospective sector in the North East full of opportunities. The Government of India showing great concern for the NER and assisting the projects in all the possible ways for the overall socio-economic development of the region.
The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI), as per the Government policies has also been reserving 10% of its budget for the regional food-processing sector thus helping the industries to implement their schemes and programmes in the NER.
In the last one year, MoFPI has given consent to 16 new food processing/ preservation infrastructural projects costing about Rs. 230 crores with a subsidy commitment of Rs. 85 crores for Assam. It includes three agro-processing clusters or ‘Mini Food Parks’ with an intention of creating common modern food processing/preservation infrastructure facilities for the processing/preservation units, 12 food processing/ preservation units and one backward and forward linkage infrastructure.
177 projects, costing about Rs. 2,800 crores with a subsidy commitment of Rs 940 crores have been approved throughout the country in the last one year. Among these, 2 ‘Mega Food Parks’, 19 ‘Agro Processing Clusters’, 127 ‘Processing Units’, 22 ‘Cold Chains’, 3 ‘Backward and Forward Linkages’ and 4 ‘Operation Greens’ for absolute value chain development of tomato, potato and onion crops are present.
The Ministry has been executing its flagship scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana’ (PMKSY) in the region under which credit-linked financial assistance in the range of 35%-75% of the eligible project cost is provided to support the creation of modern infrastructure projects, food manufacturing units, value chain development, backward and forward linkages and fod testing labs.
NER enjoy special privileges not only in terms of higher subsidy rates but also other relaxations to persuade the investors to take up suitable food processing/preservation projects to explore the myriad opportunities associated with it. While the subsidy rates in general areas vary from 35% to 50% depending on the nature of projects, in the NER, the rates vary from 50% to 75%. In addition, the minimum eligible project cost has been fixed at Rs.1 crores for setting up of Food Processing Units (FPUs) as compared to Rs.3 crores in general areas. Also, more time period for implementation of projects is allowed.
Recently, the “Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘Prime Minister — Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises’ (PM-FME)” has been launched by MoFPI under the ambitious ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ (ANB) Abhiyan with total outlay Rs 10,000 crores and is to be implemented for period of five financial years from 2020-21 to 2024-25.
For the next five years, NER States will be getting Rs 1,000 crores to aid 20,000 micro food- processing enterprises directly; of which, Assam alone will get Rs 640 crores to facilitate about 13, 000 of the total 20,000 micro-enterprises for the NER.
The scheme takes on the approach of ‘One District One Product’ (ODOP) to garner benefits of procurement of inputs, availing common services and marketing of products. Keeping in view the existing clusters and availability of raw materials, States would identify food products suitable for a district.
The PIB release added- “Keeping in view the suitability of small investors, the PM-FME scheme will be a game changer in the food processing sector in the region.”