Badal says is­sues faced by global cos will be sorted out be­fore World Food In­dia 2017

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Mad­hvi. Sally@ times­group.com

New Delhi: Food pro­cess­ing min­is­ter Har­sim­rat Kaur Badal will raise the is­sue of al­low­ing for­eign food re­tail­ers to sell other items also when she dis­cusses the mat­ter with Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi.

The gov­ern­ment last year al­lowed 100% for­eign di­rect in­vestent (FDI) in food re­tail­ing, but dropped plans to in­clude some gen­eral mer­chan­dise, such as soaps and sham­poos, in the pol­icy. Re­tail­ers have been push­ing for an eas­ing of this pol­icy.

“I will first be meet­ing global play­ers — re­tail­ers, food pro­cess­ing com­pa­nies, ma­chine man­u­fac­tur­ers, lo­gis­tics providers— and con­sol­i­date a list of is­sues they have over the next 6-8 weeks. This I will take up with the min­istries con­cerned and then the Prime Min­is­ter,” Badal told ET. “Our prime min­is­ter is quick to take de­ci­sions.”

Speak­ing on the side­lines of a meet­ing with the am­bas­sadors and high com­mis­sion­ers of var­i­ous coun­tries, Badal said, “Al­ready there is a lot of in­ter­est among global com­pa­nies to in­vest in In­dia. How­ever, they feel that we should al­low non-food re­lated items too as it hap­pens world­wide. The non food items can be ’ Made in In­dia’ prod­ucts. This will gen­er­ate em­ploy­ment, con­sid­er­ing that 65% of pop­u­la­tion is un­der the age of 35 and is look­ing for jobs.”

At the meet­ing, the min­is­ter in­vited the di­plo­mats for a global food expo to be held in Delhi in Novem­ber. The min­is­ter said it could be a win-win sit­u­a­tion. “If it (FDI) cre­ates jobs and in­creases rev­enue, it’s a win-win sit­u­a­tion. The gov­ern­ment is se­ri­ously look­ing at this is­sue and what­ever will be the out­come it will be pos­i­tive,” she said.

The min­is­ter said that most of the is­sues faced by global play­ers will be sorted by the time the World Food In­dia 2017 fair is held on Novem­ber 3-5. “For the first time, a mega in­ter­na­tional food event will take place which will show­case in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in In­dia’s grow­ing food pro­cess­ing sec­tor. It will fa­cil­i­tate com­pa­nies to en­gage and strengthen link­ages and op­por­tu­nity for part­ner­ship,” said Badal adding that a num­ber of agree­ments are likely to be signed be­fore that. “There is huge op­por­tu­nity for com­pa­nies to come and in­vest in In­dia, con­sid­er­ing that we have am­ple raw ma­te­rial-- fruits, veg­eta­bles, milk, meat etc avail­able in abun­dance,” she told the di­plo­mats.

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