May 28, 2015 8:35:50 pm
The Narendra Modi government would set up as many as 42 mega food parks across the country in the next three to four years, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries, said on Thursday.
Inaugurating the first-ever mega food park of the Northeastern region at Tihu in Nalbari district, about 100 kms from here, Badal also said that the government had provided Rs 2000 crore for a corpus fund to be handled by NABARD, from which entrepreneurs willing to set up food processing units would get finance at rates much lower than those offered by banks.
“The Reserve Bank of India has marked the food processing industry sector as a priority sector and the Rs 2,000-crore corpus provided to Nabard will provide the much-needed fillip to entrepreneurs venturing into this sector,” Badal said.
The union minister also said that while the BJP-led government had allocated over Rs 53,000 crores for the Northeast in the current budget, the primary focus was on agriculture, horticulture and other sectors that would provide large-scale employment on the basis of natural resources available in the region.
“The prime minister has already announced establishment of six new agricultural colleges for the Northeast. He has also unveiled a separate Northeast organic farming mission. Sikkim has already emerged as a 100 per cent organic state, and a formal declaration will be made in December,” she said.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who hoped that the mega food park would be able to eliminate middlemen who have been exploiting the farmers, also took the opportunity to tell union minister Badal and Kiren Rijiju that projects in the region would not move forward unless the Centre restored the Special Category status of the Northeastern states.
Emphasising on the immense inherent potential of the state in the fields of agriculture, horticulture, aquaculture and other allied sectors, Gogoi appealed to the Centre for introduction of special incentives in the lines of North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIPP) which has been kept suspended by the Modi government, for speedier industrialisation in the state.
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