After meeting industrialists from the food processing industry at the Punjab Agricultural University on Saturday, Union Cabinet Minister of Food Processing, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, said the centre would consider the issues they raised. These include interest subvention, IT exemption for a definite period and subsidising technical upgradation.
The minister asked the industrialists about the problems they faced and the incentives they sought from the central government. She said the ministry would consider their demands of an interest subvention of five to six per cent, which could be paid directly to banks to make food processing industries more competitive. Badal said that similarly, IT exemption for a period of five years would also be considered.
The union minister assured the industrialists that their demand of reduction of excise duty on all food production and equipment would also be given thought.
Ramesh Mago of Kitty Bread, meanwhile, said that priority sector lending should be available for food processing industries. Anoop Bector of Cremica Foods was of the opinion that the food processing industry in Punjab was burdened by taxes. He said biscuit makers had to pay excise duty on biscuits costing more than Rs 100 per kg. Similarly rusk manufacturers highlighted the high VAT rate they had to pay.
Managing director of Sukhjit Starch, I K Sardana, said there was a need for mini food parks in Punjab, which would enjoy the same benefits as mega food parks.