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